A group of municipal officials from Pinehurst and Aberdeen met with NCDOT officials Thursday to discuss the projected widening on NC Hwy 5 from US 15-501 in Aberdeen to Trotter Drive/Blake Drive in Pinehurst.
The project is approximately 4.4 miles long. The proposed improvements call for the widening of the road to four lanes from Turning Leaf Way to just south of Linden Road. From Linden Road to Trotter Drive, the plan is for three lanes.
The current project schedule envisions the completion of the Environmental Studies by the end of this summer with right of way acquisition beginning in 2020 and construction starting in 2022. The current goal is to have the project completed before the US Open returns to Pinehurst in June of 2024.
Photo by Chris Prentice ~Sandhills Sentinel
When the department of transportation plans highway projects, they attempt to project traffic volumes 20 years into the future. Current projections call for Hwy 5 traffic to exceed maximum design volumes by 2040, with the VPD (vehicles per day) increasing substantially from a daily average of approximately 12,000 vehicles a day to over 23,000 vehicles a day.
Preliminary estimates call for the relocation of five houses and one business. The new construction is going to have 4-foot shoulders which will accommodate bicycles.
No new sidewalks are proposed as part of the project. Existing sidewalks which are disturbed by the project will be replaced.
New sidewalks and other landscaping options can be added to the project, but that will require both the cooperation of local government and cost-sharing, with the local governments accepting responsibility for maintenance and liability.
Currently, the project is projected to cost right around $7 million, but under questioning Greg Davis, NCDOT Project Engineer, predicted those costs would escalate substantially. When asked to define what he considered substantial, he replied, “at least 50 percent.”
The construction, right of way acquisition and relocation utilities will be funded 100 percent by the NCDOT. New sidewalks and other enhancements will be shared by the local government based on the population ranging from 20 percent for Aberdeen to 40 percent for Moore County.
After the meeting, Aberdeen Town Manager Paul Sabiston commented that the project was necessary, and he was interested in pursuing the addition of sidewalks. Because of the construction schedule, this is something that will require relatively quick action by the local municipalities to get it added to the project.
Aberdeen Town Commissioner Kenneth Byrd was concerned about how preliminary many facets of this proposal are, especially concerning signaling and the effect on local business. He suggested that the DOT arrange a meeting with local businesses affected by the construction. He stated that “A lot more work needs to be done.”
Aberdeen Town Manager Paul Sabston examines maps of the proposed widening of Hwy 5. Chris Prentice~Sandhills Sentinel.
The construction will disrupt traffic on Hwy 5 and will have a ripple effect on local businesses. Commissioner Byrd estimated that there were hundreds of companies that will be affected both by the construction and new traffic flow.
A traffic control plan will be implemented to try and alleviate congestion, but some disruptions are inevitable. Future complicating planning is the opening of both the new Aberdeen Elementary School and several new housing subdivisions.
Jay McInnis, the project engineer for Randy Kemp and Associates who are providing design and engineering services for the project, promised that these plans are preliminary and will be updated as the situation warrants.
If you have questions or comments concerning the project you can contact Jay McInnis at (919) 872-5115 or via email at Randy Kemp and Associates. Greg Davis from the NCDOT can be reached at (910) 773-8022 or by email.
The public had a chance to view maps and ask questions Thursday after the town leader’s meeting. There are no future public hearings scheduled for this project, but one could be added if there is sufficient public interest.
Feature photo of Hwy 5 near Linden Road in Aberdeen by Chris Prentice~Sandhills Sentinel.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.