Town leaders and state traffic engineers have agreed on a $1.6 million plan to improve traffic flow at the intersection of Avent Ferry Road and the N.C. 55 bypass.
Now they just need the money.
Avent Ferry Road was designed to handle up to 15,000 vehicles per day. But it’s carried an average of 21,000 vehicles per day since Holly Grove Elementary, Holly Grove Middle and Holly Springs High School opened near the corner of Avent Ferry and Cass Holt roads.
Traffic is at its worst in the mornings and after school. During the morning hours, commuters on Avent Ferry Road line up to turn left onto the bypass. In the afternoons, commuters who travel southbound on the bypass try to turn right onto Avent Ferry Road toward the schools.
The plan is designed to give “huge favor to the biggest movements,” said Stephanie Sudano, the town’s engineering director.
The plan endorsed by the Holly Springs Town Council and the N.C. Department of Transportation will prohibit traffic on Avent Ferry Road from going straight across the bypass.
Drivers on Avent Ferry Road will instead turn right onto the bypass, make a U-turn at a cut-through engineers plan to create across the median and then turn right onto Avent Ferry.
Traffic will improve, engineers say, because more people will make right turns instead of being held up at a stoplight.
The town plans to add an extra right-turn lane on southbound N.C. 55 to accommodate an increase in traffic making a right turn onto Avent Ferry. It also plans to lengthen green-light time for cars turning left.
The intersection is maintained by the DOT, but the agency hasn’t approved funding for the project.
Engineers expect the changes to contain traffic for about 10 years. After that, traffic increases will likely require upgrades costing up to $20 million, according to town spokesman Mark Andrews.
Holly Springs residents are also waiting on DOT to make the intersection at Avent Ferry and Cass Holt Road safer.
The intersection is in front of the elementary school. Many students cross Avent Ferry from Cass Holt to reach their neighborhood on the other side.
Last month, a group of mothers sent the agency a letter asking for help because drivers continue to turn right from Cass Holt onto Avent Ferry when pedestrians have the right-of-way.
“The last we heard, they’re still looking at several options,” Mayor Dick Sears said.