Three major road projects in Fuquay-Varina, Morrisville and Cary are recommended to receive federal funds, according to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s scoring report released last month.
CAMPO will dole out about $16 million in federal roads money this year through the Locally Administered Projects Program. Official nods likely will come in late February or early March.
Fuquay-Varina’s application for $4.5 million toward the construction of Northwest Judd Parkway received CAMPO’s highest score among the 10 Wake County road projects submitted to CAMPO for consideration.
Morrisville, whose application for $6.3 million is the largest to be recommended for approval, plans to widen Morrisville Carpenter Road from a two-lane road into a four-lane, median-divided one. It scored the second highest among the projects.
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Cary’s application ranked third. The town is expected to receive $5.1 million to help pay for improvements along Reedy Creek Road between Maynard Road and Harrison Avenue, which will include widening Reedy Creek Road from two to three lanes and installing sidewalks, bike lanes, and three roundabouts.
Morrisville Mayor Mark Stohlman said he expects the CAMPO Executive Board, of which he is a member, to approve the staff recommendations. Construction of Morrisville Carpenter Road relies heavily on securing the grant, which amounts to 70 percent of the project’s $9 million construction price tag.
“It received almost the highest score for a road project, so it’s pretty sure it’s going to happen,” Stohlman said. “Typically these things, they’re pretty well-vetted by the staff. I feel good about this, but you never know.”
Applications are scored and recommended for approval based on a variety of criteria, which also include how much of its own money each applicant is willing to contribute, the utility of the project to the region’s residents, and the safety features of the proposed design.
If funds are approved for Fuquay-Varina, it would be the second LAPP grant awarded for the Northwest Judd Parkway project. The first $2.95 million grant came last year to help the town purchase right-of-way for the road.
Fuquay-Varina offered to match 76 percent of the overall cost – a high number, considering the minimum match is 20 percent and no other town this cycle offered to pay more than 30 percent.
The 2.2-mile, $18.75 million project would be the final segment of the ring-road bypass around Fuquay-Varina. The remaining $14.25 million will come from a bond passed by voters in 2015.
Holly Springs’ request for $1.2 million toward improvements along Sunset Lake Road was among the seven Wake County road projects not recommended for approval. That project is still in its design stages; CAMPO tends to award higher scores to construction-ready projects.
Morrisville previously applied – unsuccessfully – for LAPP funding for Morrisville Carpenter Road, but that was before the town decided to spend $1.7 million of its own money on design and right-of-way purchase.
The success of Morrisville’s application is critical to the construction of a new neighborhood on 18 acres along Morrisville Carpenter Road, known as the Stadelmaier property. A contentious rezoning case was resolved in late July last year, but only after the landowners agreed to link higher-density zoning to whether the town secured LAPP funding this winter.
Some council members, including Stohlman, refused to approve a project that would add more cars to the congested roadway without being certain the town could afford to mitigate traffic there in the near future.
Now that it appears the town will receive that money, the landowners will be required to wait 14 days after the official approval before construction or grading can begin on the land. Town Manager Martha Paige said that it is highly unlikely any developer will be ready to build that soon, however.
The restructuring of Morrisville Carpenter Road is also a boon for Morrisville’s Town Center plans, which would place a roundabout directly across from the proposed entrance to the homes approved in July.
“That’s huge news for us,” Stohlman said of the recommendation. “I can’t overstate how big that is. There are a lot of pieces that will fall into place now, including how it will tie into the Town Center’s road network.”
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan