Much-needed road improvements at the intersection of N.C. 55 and Avent Ferry Road, as well as a Main Street extension project, will relieve heavy traffic in Holly Springs caused by commuters.
The Holly Springs Town Council has sought these improvements for years, and on Tuesday, Nov. 10, the projects hit a major milestone. Both received authorization from the Federal Highway Administration.
This long-awaited approval means millions of dollars in federal and state funding to pay most of the projects’ costs. Without that funding, the projects would have been prohibitively expensive at this time, Holly Springs Town Manager Chuck Simmons said in a news release.
The town now can seek construction bids for the projects. Town staff anticipates construction for both projects to begin next year.
To reduce congestion at the intersection of N.C. 55 and Avent Ferry Road, there will be new lanes and medians, as well as signal light changes to “create a different type of superstreet from the intersections to the north,” according to the release.
Construction is expected to begin in February and will be completed by next fall. The project is expected to cost about $1.6 million – $600,000 of which will be paid for by the town.
“It’s been on our highest priority list for probably over a year now,” Mayor Dick Sears said. “I think everybody in town agrees that that’s the number one priority.”
Sears said 70 percent of the cars that are on N.C. 55 are passing through from out of town.
“The important part a lot of people don’t understand are that seven out of 10 cars aren’t us,” he said.
Once the project is complete, drivers headed east or west on Avent Ferry Road only will be able to turn right or left and won’t be able to drive straight through the intersection. Those who want to continue along Avent Ferry will have to make a right on N.C. 55 and make a U-Turn before proceeding right.
Drivers headed north or south on N.C. 55 will be able to drive straight through the intersection or make a right turn onto Avent Ferry Road but will be prohibited from turning left. Those who want to turn left must proceed straight before making a U-Turn and then turning right.
The improvements include a new “free flow” lane on N.C. 55 headed south so drivers can continue right onto Avent Ferry without stopping. There also will also be more green light time for drivers turning left from Avent Ferry onto N.C. 55 headed south.
As part of the project on Main Street, the road will be extended across N.C. 55 to Piney Grove Wilson Road, which will help move traffic to southern Holly Springs. It also will realign and extend Ralph Stephens and Piney Grove Wilson roads to create a new intersection.
The project is expected to reduce traffic turning left from eastbound Avent Ferry Road to northbound N.C. 55 Bypass by 25 percent.
Construction will begin in 2016 and will cost an estimated $6.5 million. The town will pay $1.3 million.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon