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NCDOT considers installing roundabouts when it replaces NC 50 bridge in Garner

These are the two options that the N.C. Department of Transportation is considering for replacing the Benson Road, or N.C. 50, bridge over U.S. 70 in Garner. NCDOT is holding a meeting to get the public’s feedback from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Garner Town Hall.
These are the two options that the N.C. Department of Transportation is considering for replacing the Benson Road, or N.C. 50, bridge over U.S. 70 in Garner. NCDOT is holding a meeting to get the public’s feedback from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Garner Town Hall. NCDOT

The N.C. Department of Transportation is weighing two options for replacing the Benson Road bridge over U.S. 70 in Garner and will hold a public meeting on Thursday evening to get the public’s feedback.

The big difference between the two plans is that one would put roundabouts at both ends of the bridge instead of traffic lights.

The Benson Road bridge is 56 years old and nearing the end of its useful life, but NCDOT engineers also hope to improve traffic flow around the bridge, said Elmo Vance, the assistant project manager.

Both plans would reconfigure the exit ramp from westbound U.S. 70 by eliminating Umstead Lane as a two-way street. Both would require taking as many as six houses near the ramp and would turn Hilltop Avenue into a cul-de-sac where it now meets Umstead.

But the scenario with roundabouts would take up more real estate, including two houses on Hilltop and another two across U.S. 70 on Circle Drive. The intersection of Circle Drive and Benson Road would also be closed.

The new bridge will be built next to the old one to “give it a better alignment and to keep the existing bridge open during construction,” Vance said. If all goes as planned, NCDOT will begin acquiring property this summer and begin construction in the summer of 2019. Construction could take a year and a half to complete, Vance said.

NCDOT will present the two options at Garner Town Hall, 900 Seventh Avenue, from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. There will be no formal presentation, and people can drop by anytime during the meeting to ask questions and leave comments. NCDOT will accept feedback on the project until March 1 via email at eevance@ncdot.gov or by mail: 1582 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1582.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling

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