Town efforts to relieve congestion on Avent Ferry Road are getting another big boost – nearly $1.6 million in federal funds to widen between N.C. 55 and Piney Grove Wilbon Road.
Widening that portion from two lanes to four is part of a multi-prong strategy to deal with Holly Springs’ No. 1 traffic hotspot.
“All of these projects are targeting different aspects, and all come together to help alleviate congestion on Avent Ferry Road,” said Town Engineering Director Kendra Parrish. “No one project will fix all of the problem.”
Widening between 55 Bypass and Piney Grove Wilbon won’t begin for about two years. The federal money isn’t available to spend yet, and design and right-of-way acquisition must occur beforehand.
Even so, 2015 is shaping up as a year of change for Avent Ferry Road. In mid-year, construction begins on:
• New lanes, medians and signal light timing at the intersection of N.C. 55 and Avent Ferry Road. The purpose is to help left turns onto northbound 55 during the morning rush and right turns back onto Avent Ferry in the evening. Read more. • Extension of Main Street westward to Piney Grove Wilbon Road, providing an alternate route that should substantially reduce traffic turning left from Avent Ferry onto 55. Read more.
Recently, the state Department of Transportation installed a traffic light and altered the median for safer left turns out of Southpark Village shopping center onto Avent Ferry Road.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is responsible for N.C. 55 and Avent Ferry Road. But with statewide road needs far exceeding funding, Holly Springs has assumed a greater role in devising solutions for traffic congestion and finding ways to pay for them. Town officials have worked with those from the state to secure millions of dollars in federal and state funds.
Mayor Dick Sears is executive committee chairman of a regional planning organization that decides how federal transportation funds are spent. The Avent Ferry project scored highest among six Wake County roadway projects that were approved in March for nearly $12.9 million in federal funds.
Federal funds will cover up to 80 percent of Avent Ferry widening between N.C. 55 and Piney Grove Wilbon Road. The town is responsible for the remainder.
Parrish said the next goal is to secure funding to widen from Piney Grove Wilbon Road to Cass Holt Road.