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Green Level West Road Widening

Overview (Spring 2014)

Green Level Church Road to NC 540 (western project segment) – Project Funded for Functional Design Only
NC 540 Interchange to NC 55 (eastern project segment) – Project Funded for Design and Construction

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Description
Status
Project Facts
NCDOT Bridge Replacement Project
Public Meetings
Project Cost
Schedule
Contact


Description

The project consists of widening the eastern segment of Green Level West Road from the newly constructed northbound ramps located at the Western Wake Freeway (NC 540) interchange to NC 55 Highway. The existing roadway is primarily two-lanes in width. The project will widen the roadway to a 4-lane median-divided section with curb and gutter, sidewalks, street lighting, and wide outside lanes for cyclists, as indicated on the Town’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The roadway from NC 55 Highway to Glenmore Road is predominantly already widened to five lanes, so improvements along this stretch of roadway will be minimal, consisting primarily of resurfacing and pavement markings.

Widening of the eastern segment will provide additional roadway capacity for Cary commuters, resulting in less traffic congestion, reduced emissions, and savings in time and fuel for motorists. The project will also provide a continuation of sidewalks along the corridor, which will improve pedestrian connectivity in the area. The roadway will have wide outside lanes to accommodate experienced cyclists, which allows residents to use alternative modes of travel other than the automobile. Green Level West Road is part of NC Bike Route 2, the Mountains to Sea Route that runs from Manteo to Murphy.

The Town has hired an engineering consultant team to complete the environmental and design phases of the project, which is currently underway. The design includes: traffic studies, environmental assessments, development of alternatives for the widening, final plans, specifications, and cost estimates. While the project team will look at widening alternatives for Green Level West Road from NC 55 to Green Level Church Road (western segment), the construction project will be limited from NC 540 to NC 55 (eastern segment). The design of the Green Level West project is funded through a cost sharing program between the Town and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP).

The November 6, 2012 Community Investment Bonds referendum specifically supports right-of-way acquisition and construction of the Green Level West project.

Status

The project team has evaluated all of the public and stakeholder comments received from the first project public meeting held on October 29, 2014, completed various traffic and technical environmental studies, finished the Draft Categorical Exclusion document, and generated a preferred alternative design for the eastern project segment. The functional alignment for the western segment is still under development in concert with potential changes being investigated during the Town's Community Plan Update.

Based on results of the Traffic Forecast and Capacity Analysis reports, widening the western segment of Green Level West Road between Green Level Church Road and NC 540 is not anticipated to be necessary to accommodate 2040 traffic volumes. The results from the traffic forecast project volumes of less than 14,000 vehicles per day (vpd) in 2040, which suggests that the roadway will not require widening by the year 2040 as the existing two-lane section will be sufficient.

As a result of the Traffic Forecast and Capacity Analysis reports, the Town is working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to officially split the Green Level West project (U-5500) into a western half (U-5500A, from Green Level Church Road to NC 540) and an eastern half (U-5500B, from NC 540 to NC 55), which is estimated to conclude in May 2014.

The Town is continuing to complete preparation of the final designs and other pre-construction activities for U-5500B (the eastern segment). Due to the results of the Traffic Forecast and Capacity Analysis reports, the Town will not move forward with final design plans of the western segment (U-5500A) at this time, and will only complete a functional alignment for this section.

Therefore, the Categorical Exclusion (CE) document focuses on the eastern segment of the project only. The document outlines the project details and impacts and fulfills the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Key items addressed in the document include:

  • Purpose and Need: The purpose of the proposed project is to provide improved traffic carrying capacity for the corridor as projected traffic growth continues in western Wake County, facilitate non-automobile travel choices through the addition of wide outside lanes that will accommodate cyclists, and improve   connectivity by extending sidewalks along both sides of the widened road and across the southern side of the NC 540 interchange bridge. 
  • Alternatives Considered: A full range of alternatives were evaluated, which include: Alternative 1 - Widen symmetrically to the north and south of the current right-of-way; Alternative 2 - Widen primarily north of the current right-of-way, and; Alternative 3 - Widen primarily south of the current right-of-way. These alternative alignments were presented at the October 29, 2013 public workshop meeting to receive feedback (see Public Meetings below). 
  • Preferred Alternative: The preferred alternative for the project is a hybrid version of Alternative 3, widening the roadway primarily to the south. The preferred alternative meets the purpose and need of the project with the least impact to the environment and community. 
  • Summary of Impacts: There are no anticipated natural and human environmental impacts. The project will not impact any streams, wetlands, significant natural resources, and listed or eligible historic architectural resources (except for the loss of one non-historic barn). The Traffic Noise Impact Analysis determined there will be minimal noise impacts along the corridor and that no noise abatement measures, such as potential barriers, are found to be both feasible and reasonable as a result of the need to maintain driveway access and local cross-street connections. Thus, noise walls are not required for the project.

Project Facts


The total length of the project is approximately 0.85 miles from the NC 540 interchange to NC 55 Highway.
  • Green Level West currently carries about 7,000 vehicles per day (vpd). In 2040, traffic models project it may carry 14,000 vpd on the western half and 21,000 vpd on the eastern half.
  • Existing traffic signals located within the project area will be modified to reflect the roadway improvements. Traffic operations at the existing major side streets along the corridor have been evaluated and do not warrant additional traffic controls, such as traffic signals.
  • Preliminary environmental investigations found that the widening project east of NC 540 would have little to no impact on natural or cultural/historic resources in the area.
  • The overall project will be beneficial to the area due to the addition of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that will link neighborhoods to local greenways, the Green Level Historic District, and other amenities.
  • Although the study is being administered by the Town, the Town has hired a consultant, Michael Baker Engineering, Inc., to perform the design, planning, and pre-construction activities.
  • Construction of improvements on the eastern project segment is scheduled to begin in Winter 2015. There are no construction funds for improving the western project segment.

NCDOT Bridge Replacement Project

In January 2012, NCDOT approached the Town about plans to replace the Green Level West Road bridge over Batchelor Branch. At that time, the Town requested the replacement be delayed because the bridge was located on the detour route for the nearby Green Level Church Road bridge replacement project. The Town had also just begun the Green Level West Road Widening study and wanted to evaluate bridge replacement options. NCDOT agreed and allowed the Town the time to work on the widening project.

Town staff evaluated the future traffic demand and funding options for a new bridge. The traffic forecast prepared for the widening project showed widening the western segment of Green Level West Road was not needed to accommodate 2040 traffic volumes. In addition, environmental studies showed that major stream and wetlands impacts would require a new 4-lane bridge to be considerably longer and higher than the current structure. That type of bridge construction was not included in the Community Investment Bonds and was not within the NCDOT project budget. Therefore, the Town and NCDOT agreed that the widening of the western segment would not take place before the end of the existing bridge’s projected lifespan and that the bridge should be replaced sooner by NCDOT.

NCDOT has agreed to replace the existing bridge in place with a 39-foot wide bridge through a project funded by the Department. The new bridge will allow for two 15-foot wide travel lanes to accommodate vehicular and cycling traffic and a 6.5-foot sidewalk with 2.5-foot curb and gutter on the south side of the bridge. The sidewalk across the bridge was added at the Town’s request and will be included at no cost to the Town. The Town has also agreed to reimburse NCDOT for the construction of an additional 275 feet of sidewalk east of the bridge to connect to the adjacent Batchelor Branch greenway and 75 feet of sidewalk west of the bridge to provide for transition and future connections.

The replacement bridge is currently being designed and is scheduled for construction starting in February 2016. The estimated construction time is 4 months during which the project area will be closed to traffic as NCDOT demolishes the existing bridge and constructs the new one. Traffic will be able to use detours to the north and south to bypass the construction zone. The bridge replacement will not affect the Town’s Green Level West Road Widening project, which will remain open to traffic during construction.

For more information on the NCDOT Bridge Replacement Project, please contact:
Malcom Watson, PE
NCDOT Transportation Program Management
Design-Build Engineer
919-707-6614
mcwatson@ncdot.gov

 Public Meetings

Citizens Information Workshop #1
October 29, 2013, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Fire Station 8, 408 Mills Park Drive

The Town of Cary held a Citizens Informational Workshop to get input for the project. The project team provided maps with aerial photography and alternative design options as well as handouts and comment sheets. No formal presentation was made, but project team members were on hand to discuss the project throughout the open-house meeting.

Meeting Materials

-Project Update Newsletter
-Preliminary Design Maps
-Preliminary Designs – Handout (11x17)

Citizens Information Workshop #2
April 8, 2014, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Fire Station 8, 408 Mills Park Drive
The Town of Cary held a second Citizens Inormational Workshop to get input for the project.  Neighbors and the public were invited to drop in to view and provide comments on the large-scale maps of the preferred preliminary design alternate and the Draft Categorical Exclusion document.

Meeting Materials
-25% Preliminary Design Plans
-Public Workshop Map

-Workshop Newsletter

Project Cost

The total project funding for the Green Level West Road Widening is $14 million.

Design: $1 million
The design of the Green Level West project is funded through a cost sharing program between the Town and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP).

Right-of-Way / Construction: $13 million
The November 6, 2012 Community Investment Bonds referendum specifically supports right-of-way acquisition and construction of the Green Level West project.


Schedule

Preliminary Engineering
Winter - Fall 2013
Technical field and traffic studies to assist the development of preliminary designs and the environmental document – Completed

Winter 2013 – Spring 2014
Preliminary designs and environmental documents finalized - Completed 

Right of Way Acquisition
Fall 2014 - Fall 2015
Real estate negotiation with property owners  

Final Design
Spring – Winter 2014

Final design plans developed

Construction
Winter 2015 - Winter 2016
Eastern segment only

Contact:

Kristen M. Dwiggins, P.E.
Project Engineer
Transportation & Facilities Department
Town of Cary
(919) 462-3930
kristen.dwiggins@townofcary.org