Work on widening the section of Avent Ferry Road closest to N.C. 55 is wrapping up! Though the N.C. Department of Transportation is responsible for the state road, the Town of Holly Springs sought out federal funding and managed the project because of the high volume of travelers who use the road daily.
"The purpose of the Avent Ferry Widening project was to improve the safety and mobility on a heavily traveled roadway, and to accommodate the growth that is occurring in the southwest area of Holly Springs and beyond," said Mike Leonas, senior project engineer with the Town. "With the residential neighborhoods and multifamily developments, the high school and other area schools, the shopping center, Ralph Stephens Road, Main Street, N.C. 55, and Avent Ferry, about 70,000 vehicles are traveling those roads daily, and we expect that number to increase as areas inside and outside town limits continue to grow."
This first phase of widening along Avent Ferry Road covered the segment from N.C. 55 to Ralph Stephens Road. The town applied for and was awarded federal funding for approximately 80 percent of projected costs. Future road widening of Avent Ferry is planned, but federal or state funding has not yet been committed for the project.
"We continue to seek grant and outside funding for projects on state roads because the projects are large in scope, and it allows us to leverage Town funding," Leonas said. "Outside funding for various projects is especially important given the current economic climate and escalation of construction costs across the board."
As part of the project, drivers will notice a new traffic pattern at the signal near the shopping center intersection. Drivers using the traffic signal to turn left out of the shopping center onto Avent Ferry Road should remember that traffic from N.C. 55 does not stop. Drivers, as always, should use caution when merging and changing lanes.
"The continuous green T intersection allows for a safer intersection while maximizing vehicle flow off of N.C. 55 to minimize backups," Leonas said.
As with most major connector roads in Holly Springs, the state ultimately determines the design of road improvements, including where medians are required to be installed – and where breaks in medians are allowed. The state also is ultimately responsible for deciding the different types of intersections and signals that are included along its roadways.
"The design of a state road project must follow rigorous standards set by the state, as well as federal guidelines," Leonas said. "Once a project is designed, the draft design goes through an intense review process with the state making the final authorization. If the design doesn’t follow the state’s requirements, the project is not approved."
A new pedestrian crossing signal at that intersection also is included. Similar to those used in Durham, Wrightsville Beach, and other locations throughout our state, the signal will flash yellow before turning red, signaling drivers to stop and allow pedestrians to cross. The signal is dark until it is activated by a pedestrian.
Click here for details and links to helpful videos.