More than 10,000 cars a day cruise down Buck Jones Road, a narrow two-lane street that connects Western Boulevard and Cary’s Crossroads shopping center area.
Traffic along the Southwest Raleigh road is only expected to get worse in the next 20 years, so major upgrades are a high priority for Raleigh’s $75 million bond referendum this fall.
Buck Jones is one of two “shovel ready” projects in the bond package, according to transportation planning manager Eric Lamb. That means $4 million from the bond will help start construction as soon as July 2014 – assuming voters say yes to the bond, which will raise the property tax rate by 1.12 cents.
Neighbors and drivers will get their first look at the project’s design Thursday night during a public meeting at Hope Community Church. Construction will widen the road from near Jones Franklin Road to Farm Gate Road near the Cary line, adding a center turning lane to smooth traffic flow as well as new bike lanes, sidewalks and streetlights.
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One of the goals is to improve safety for numerous residents who walk or take the bus along Buck Jones. In 2007, the road was the site of a deadly accident where a car ran off the road and hit two men standing at a bus stop.
To make it easier for bus riders to cross the street, the city will install concrete “median islands” at several busy bus stops.
Buck Jones will also get two roundabouts at its intersections with Farm Gate Road and Bashford Road. While the traffic circles have proved a bit controversial on Hillsborough Street, Buck Jones neighbors specifically asked for them, Lamb said.
“There was interest in slowing down traffic,” Lamb said. “People didn’t necessarily want traffic signals in those locations.”
The project was originally funded in a 2005 street bond, but the last chunk of funding will have to wait until this year’s bond. The total cost is $8.17 million.
After gathering feedback on Thursday, the plans go to the Raleigh City Council for a hearing and vote later this summer.