Carpenter Fire Station Road Bridge and Intersection Improvements

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Live Traffic Map

Get a quick glance of the intersection to evaluate traffic conditions within the project limits.


Project Updates

Spring 2019 Update

  • Temporary sewer line for 4101 NC 55 is complete. The Town is working with the contractor on permits for force main pump station abandonment at the same address.
  • Contractor is performing earthwork along railroad detour.
  • Clearing and utility (waterline) work along NC 55, Carpenter Fire Station Road, Morrisville Carpenter Road and Saunders Grove Lane.
  • Storm drainage installation
  • Erosion control installation
  • Clearing and grubbing and installation of erosion control measures along railroad right of way and new roadway.
  • Traffic Signal work at Carpenter Fire Station Road and NC 55 Highway.


Erosion Control Sediment Basin with Baffles along CSX Railroad Track just East of NC 55.


Removed Section of Carpenter Fire Station Road section between CSX Railroad and NC 55. 

Western Wake Railroad Crossing Closures 

  • See map of the Western Wake Railroad Crossing closures
  • Per Crossing Consolidation Agreement in support of the new project, the Town of Cary, NCDOT and CSX Transportation permanently closed the at-grade railroad crossing at Carpenter Fire Station Road, east of NC 55 mid-July 2018.  See map of the closure.
  • Drivers will still be able to access Carpenter Fire Station Road west of NC 55 via a detour route using Morrisville Carpenter Road at-grade crossing to the south to NC 55 Highway. See map of detour.
  • The Town plans to open the route again; tentatively Fall 2022 via an underpass as part of the Carpenter Fire Station Road Realignment Project.

Purpose of Project

This project consists of the realignment of Carpenter Fire Station Road from NC 55 Highway to Morrisville-Carpenter Road, west of Louis Stephens Drive. The project incorporates a new four-lane, median-divided roadway with paved shoulders for bicycles, as indicated in the Cary 2040 Community Plan and the Carpenter Community Master Plan.

The purpose of the proposed project is to realign Carpenter Fire Station Road from the NC-55 highway intersection to Morrisville-Carpenter Road just west of Louis Stephens Drive for approximately 0.8 miles to improve west-east network connectivity in and around the Historic Carpenter Community linking Western Cary to Morrisville and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

A secondary purpose of the project is to enhance west-east highway and rail crossing safety by replacing an at-grade crossing with a grade separation at the CSX Railroad alignment just east of NC 55 Highway.

The project incorporates a new four-lane, median divided roadway with paved shoulders for bicycles as indicated on the Town’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP), the CAMPO 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan, the Carpenter Community Plan and the NCDOT State Transportation Improvement Program.

The following are the proposed views of the future railroad grade separation project with CSX railroad.


Figure 1 - Future CSX Railroad Grade Separation with Carpenter Fire Station Road. View is facing west toward NC 55 from Carpenter Historic District.


Figure 2 – Future CSX Railroad Grade Separation with Carpenter Fire Station Road. View is facing east toward Good Hope Church Road and towards the Carpenter Historic District.

Additional planning and general design criteria information for the Town of Cary’s ST1204 project; located in the State Environmental Assessment Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

Project Benefits

The project will provide immediate benefits to Cary citizens including:

  • Improved traffic flow by completing a strategic east-west commuter thoroughfare link
  • Reduced traffic congestion and delays at its intersection with NC 55 Highway
  • Improved traffic circulation and connectivity in the Carpenter Community area
  • Enhanced traffic safety by eliminating the at-grade railroad crossing with CSX railroad tracks
  • Wide paved shoulders to accommodate experienced bike users, which allows residents to use alternative modes of travel other than motorized vehicles.

Project Schedule

  • Complete Design - Summer 2018
  • Began Highway Utility Conflict Relocations - Summer 2018
  • Bid Advertisement - Summer 2018
  • Bid Opening - Fall 2018
  • CSX Approval of Construction Agreement - Fall 2018
  • Notice of Award to Contractor - Fall 2018
  • Open O’Kelly Chapel Road Extension to Little Drive - Fall 2018
  • Bid Award Recommendation to Town Council - November 15, 2018
  • Contracts, Bonds and Insurance Executed between Contractor and Cary - Winter 2019
  • Begin Construction - January 14, 2019
  • Substantial Completion - Summer 2022
  • Open New Roadway to NC 55 with CSX Railroad Grade Separation - Summer 2022
  • Complete Construction - Fall 2022
  • Close Morrisville Carpenter Road at CSX At-Grade Railroad Crossing - Fall 2022


Project Cost

The total cost of the project is $36,165,408 which includes design fees, construction engineering and administration, construction costs, right-of-way and permitting. No federal funds are proposed to be used on the project. Only Town of Cary Community Investment Bond revenue and recognized Town revenue sources will be used for the project.

Historic, Human and Environmental Coordination/Mitigation

The project is in northwestern Cary, within the National Carpenter Historic District and is designed to complement our strong transportation network and maintain CSX railroad access, while accommodating and valuing the historic character and existing finite resources of the historic area. The project was designed and will be constructed to minimize environmental and historic impacts and does require environmental/historic permitting and mitigation efforts.


Figure 3 - Carpenter National Register Historic District Map

In coordination and consultation with federal, state and local agencies, Cary is taking the lead on the following actions to mitigate historic and environmental impacts pre- and post-construction of the project via a memorandum of agreement that was executed Summer 2017. Some of the major project related actions will include the following:

  • Installation of historic district signage for Carpenter Gateway Treatments to alert visitors they have entered a historic area. These are anticipated to be installed towards the completion of the project.
  • Dismantling, recording and storage of two historic barn structures along Saunders Grove Lane within the Historic District. The barns will be dismantled by hand with the intent of salvaging as much material as possible. The barn materials deemed salvageable for historic purposes will be temporarily stored in a covered location by the Town’s Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department for future use by the Town of Cary in future park projects. Work to dismantle the barns and store the historical salvaged materials is complete as of November 2018.
  • Medians between NC 55 to Good Hope Church Rd lie within a portion of the historic district. Upon substantial completion; the new median will be a grass median for water quality and erosion control protection. Staff will develop a median and landscape planting plan after acceptance of the project that will feature vegetative planting in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
  • Use of non-standard expressway gutter with ditch section between NC 55 to Good Hope Church Road to minimize the disturbed area through the historic district.
  • CSX Grade Separation (Tunnel) to be designed to minimize the visibility of the new roadway alignment from the southern portion of the historic district.
  • Use of shoulder and ditch section along Saunders Grove Lane to maintain the rural character of the district.

Project Background

Morrisville-Carpenter Road west of Louis Stephens Road currently carries about 11,000 vehicles per day. Traffic forecasts for the realignment project predict that the roadway will carry over 20,000 vehicles per day at year 2030.

Public Involvement and Communications

Public meetings were held to provide information and obtain feedback on design elements to help shape the project in October 2012 and March 2014 at Good Hope Baptist Church.

At the October 2012 meeting, staff presented an aerial map that showed the project corridor. The workshop was held to receive initial feedback from citizens. View the study update newsletter/handout from the meeting.

At the second meeting in March 2014, staff presented the final roadway alignment alternatives. Citizens were asked to review and comment on the alternatives. In the follow-up to the workshop, alternative number one was selected. View the project update newsletter/proposed alternatives from the second meeting.

Citizens, property owners and businesses adjacent to the project were notified by letter on December 28, 2018 of the notice to begin construction as required by North Carolina General Statutes.


Robert E. Shultes
Project Engineer
Transportation & Facilities Department
Town of Cary
(919) 380-4104