posted on March 20, 2014 04:40
The intersection at US 21 (Statesville Road) and Gilead Road is one of the town’s busiest intersections and one of the most important transportation projects currently facing the town. This was one of the primary projects headlining the town’s $17.85 transportation bond approved by 67.87% of voters in 2012.
Major issues facing this intersection are its close proximity to I-77 (even closer than 21/Sam Furr), numerous access points and volume of cars. Town engineers recently counted 38,000 cars in just a 12 hour period through this intersection. Traffic frequently backs up on the ramp from I-77 to exit 23 all the way down to I-77.
This created a challenge for town engineers and transportation staff, as well as NC DOT and project consultant STV, Inc. Tuesday night’s special meeting with the Town Board introduced two concepts that rose to the top of consideration as the best way to balance the flow and number of vehicles through this area with the least impact to businesses in the area.
Two concepts discussed included a traditional solution of additional lanes and a second, more innovative solution focused on efficiency.
Concept #2, the Detailed Study Alternative presented Tuesday night as the preferred solution, an innovative approach to the intersection which moves the traffic in a more efficient manner, allows for better accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians, and fits well with the future improvements to the interchange. This approach is essentially a superstreet concept. The Town anticipates moving into detailed environmental study and design with this concept.
Concept #1 was a more traditional solution for the intersection and is based on the 2004 proposed Moving Ahead project. This concept is no longer being carried forward for detailed environmental study and design, as Concept #2 is estimated to cost nearly the same as Concept #1, but boasts a higher traffic level of service and compatibility with future DOT plans for modification of the interchange at exit 23.
Both of these can be viewed on the project website at: http://www.us21gileadroadproject.org/alternatives.
Next Public Workshop is April 10th
The second public workshop is April 10 from 4:30 – 7:30 at Huntersville Town Hall and will follow a drop-in format. Learn more at: http://www.us21gileadroadproject.org
Originally, forecast as a $6.6 million dollar project, current planning estimates are coming in at around $9 million. Commissioners have been asked to make a decision as to moving forward as the town has a deadline to let a construction contract by late summer/early fall of 2015 or risk losing $3.6 million in federal funds. Commissioners will consider this as part of the FY14-15 Budget.