Orange County

Road work coming to major Carrboro intersection. Here’s why you may need a new route.

NCDOT Roundabouts

Roundabouts are becoming more common across North Carolina, but many drivers don't have the experience of navigating them. This N.C. Department of Transportation video explains why roundabouts are more common and how to use them safely.
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Roundabouts are becoming more common across North Carolina, but many drivers don't have the experience of navigating them. This N.C. Department of Transportation video explains why roundabouts are more common and how to use them safely.

Some drivers will have to find a new way between Carrboro and Chapel Hill starting Monday.

N.C. Department of Transportation crews are installing a roundabout at the intersection of Estes Drive Extension and North Greensboro Street in Carrboro. Construction will begin Monday, Aug. 5, and happen from 9 a.m. to sunset each day, according to a Tuesday news release. Some Saturday work also may be required.

The work could cause delays and lane closures through September 2021, Carrboro town officials said.

The long construction timeline is due, in part, to NCDOT efforts to keep the intersection open to some traffic and also because it is a complicated project, Carrboro planning director Trish McGuire said in an email.

Underground utilities will have to be replaced and a large stormwater culvert will have to be extended across the intersection, she said. There will be new pedestrian crossing signals installed at Williams Street and Oak Avenue.

“The decision to complete the work under traffic conditions is due to the unreasonable detour options and the potential overflow at other intersections throughout town,” McGuire said. “East-west travel alternatives are very limited and full closure would have resulted in lengthy detours for every trip.”

Message boards already near the intersection will alert motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The work is not expected to affect Chapel Hill Transit or GoTriangle bus routes. Pedestrian routes around the construction will be marked.

The project is meant “to improve safety, access and mobility in this location,” town officials said. “Thanks to everyone for their patience as we look forward to the completion of this improvement.”

The Herald-Sun reported last year that roundabouts lessened the likelihood of serious crashes and injuries. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports there were 75 percent fewer injuries at intersections where a roundabout replaced a traffic signal or stop signs.

The town is suggesting drivers take an alternate route if possible, and recommended using Homestead Road between Hillsborough Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to get from Carrboro to Chapel Hill.

Seawell School Road, between Homestead Road and Estes Drive Extension, and Franklin Street are other alternate routes.

Real-time travel information will be available at DriveNC.gov or on Twitter at @NCDOT. Updates also will be available from the town of Carrboro website, on Twitter at @CarrboroTownGov, and on Facebook.

Staff writer Joe Johnson contributed to this report.

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Tammy Grubb has written about Orange County’s politics, people and government since 2010. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumna and has lived and worked in the Triangle for over 25 years.
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