Those who frequent Fuquay-Varina’s downtown district should be on alert for utility-related construction expected to disrupt the area starting in January and extending through the early summer.
Construction will occur in phases along Main Street between Judd Parkway and East Spring Street; along East Academy Street between Fuquay Avenue and Falcon Drive; and along Fuquay Avenue between Academy and East Spring Street. Short stretches of Oakdale Street and Pine Street will also see construction.
The town board agreed to extend the scope of a planned water line replacement project at its Nov. 7 meeting, bumping the cost of that project up from about $800,000 to more than $1.4 million.
Town staff recommended expanding the project to make future line replacements in the area more cost-effective. The new plan will include “stub” lines that add to the project’s cost but make the process of replacing nearby lines easier than if the two phases of replacement had occurred separately.
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The extra $600,000 will come out of the town’s water and sewer fund, Town Manager Adam Mitchell said.
Water line replacement typically involves digging through a narrow section of asphalt near the edge of the roadway, but disruptions during this project might be more substantial than usual because of a directive to repave the entire width of the travel lane.
“We’re actually going to mill and resurface from the curb to the center lane so it looks like one continuous asphalt layer,” he said. “That’s something the (N.C.) DOT’s asking us to do, but we agree with it. We want the downtown to look sharp instead of messy and patched.”
Fuquay-Varina and the contractor agreed to delay the beginning of construction until after the new year begins, Mitchell said, to ensure the downtown businesses that depend on holiday foot traffic won’t be obstructed by construction barriers.
“Our goal is to cross our fingers and pray for great weather,” he said.
He said he would like the project to be complete before the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest over Memorial Day weekend and added, “But we recognize that it might not be.”
Land-use forums a success
A series of forums held at Fuquay-Varina’s Public Service Center from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 produced feedback from the community and other development stakeholders that will be incorporated into the town’s new land-use plan, expected to be presented in draft form Nov. 29, Mitchell said.
A primary goal of the update, which is the first revision in 11 years, is to take into account the development potential of land easily accessible from interchanges along the planned route of N.C. 540, which is proposed to swing north of Fuquay-Varina.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that while 540 only has two interchanges that directly touch our urban service area, there are five interchanges that feed roadways that come into our area,” Mitchell said.
Land-use plans are designed to give towns a set of development goals and preferences to keep in mind when approving new homes and commercial construction.
The new document, which looks to plan Fuquay-Varina’s development future in broad terms through 2035, is expected to undergo revisions this winter leading to its adoption in either February or March.
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan