The Town of Holly Springs continues to move forward on major transportation projects to ease congestion on roadways and enhance motorist and pedestrian safety. During the Town Council retreat last weekend, elected officials discussed the latest news involving planned road construction on some key thoroughfares, including the expansion of Holly Springs Road to reduce congestion, the realignment of Avent Ferry Road east of Highway 55, the addition of a right turn lane on Main Street onto Holly Springs Road and the addition of a right turn lane on NC 55. These projects are all being funded through the Transportation Bond approved by voters in 2018. To supplement those funds, the Town of Holly Springs applied for NCDOT grants and announced today the town is receiving an additional $4.6 million in State money for the Holly Springs Road and Avent Ferry projects.
"Receiving money from the State to help us with transportation needs in Holly Springs is crucial to help stretch our dollars even further," said Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears. "As road construction costs rise, we need to find creative ways to pay for much needed improvements within our fast-growing town."
In fact, road construction costs have risen steeply over the last two years. The Federal Highway Administration reports that there has been a 17% increase in highway construction costs from just January 2018 to June 2019 alone. The cost of asphalt alone has risen 28% in that same time period. All municipalities and the State are dealing with these huge jumps in costs, while still trying to modernize our roadways.
Holly Springs officials are also prioritizing the importance of finding a permanent solution to periodic flooding across Holly Springs Road associated with Middle Creek. As part of the road widening engineering and design process on Holly Springs Road, Town staff has been working closely with NCDOT to make sure the bridge eliminates roadway flooding during heavy rain events and does not adversely impact the wetlands surrounding the area. In order to make sure the bridge meets all these criteria, the cost for a longer bridge span across the low-lying Middle Creek area alone has risen by $5 million.
"We have been seeking input from residents about these projects before they are even in the design phase, and we’ve made changes as a direct result," said Kendra Parrish, Holly Springs Director of Engineering. "We heard residents say they wanted wider sidewalks along Holly Springs Road to support multiple uses, we heard their concerns about pedestrian safety near the schools and we heard their wish to solve the flooding issue along Middle Creek while protecting the environment. We believe addressing these needs will be money well spent."
In light of construction cost increases, the Town Council has decided to focus initial efforts on four bond projects that have the most impact to residents in terms of reducing congestion and improving safety. Council will defer evaluation of the Grigsby Avenue improvements and Estes Lane connection projects to the second phase of bond projects for further evaluation and review with other priority transportation bond investments that the Town desires to partner on with NCDOT and developers.
For more information about the transportation bond projects, check out our website at www.hsbonds.com.