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The original item was published from 2/13/2013 12:02:17 PM to 2/13/2013 12:02:43 PM.

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Posted on: February 13, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Rush Hour Traffic Improving through N.C. 55 Construction

Last week was a difficult one for anyone traveling N.C. 55 at rush hour. But traffic through two newly-configured intersections is moving more smoothly this week and should continue to improve in the weeks ahead.

Work isn’t finished yet on signalized U-turn lanes (known as superstreets) designed to keep traffic flowing on N.C. 55 after the Target-anchored Holly Springs Towne Center opens to shoppers next month at New Hill Road.

But the opening of more U-turn lanes and timing adjustments to traffic signals already are helping at the New Hill Road / West Holly Springs Road and Green Oaks Parkway / Ballentine Street intersections. More changes are coming soon, including synchronizing of all of the traffic lights and installation of traffic sensors in pavement.

The shopping center developer is installing the U-turn lanes as a requirement to handle increased traffic expected from the center.

The N.C. Department of Transportation says the redesign is meant to help move more highway traffic faster by replacing left turns and through movements from side streets.

State transportation engineers stress that the new configuration cannot function at its best until all lanes are open and signals can detect traffic conditions and adjust accordingly.

The N.C.D.O.T. offers these tips for commuting safely and quickly until the work is finished.

Before the end of February if weather permits, the shopping center developer hopes to be finished with the new traffic pattern, sometimes referred to as a “superstreet.”

Once the work is finished, motorists on N.C. 55 can resume left turns onto the side streets. State transportation engineers say that will a lot fewer vehicles in the U-turn lanes.

However, drivers on New Hill Road, West Holly Springs Road, Green Oaks Parkway and Ballentine Street must continue turning right. They’ll still use the U-turn lanes to get to the other side of the highway or to head in the other direction.

Although it’s not their project, Town Engineering staff members are trying to speed road work along and keep communication flowing. They hold conference calls daily with the developer and N.C.D.O.T. and meet with the developer each week.

The first week of superstreets along N.C. 55 was especially challenging, Sudano said.

Feedback from motorists through a Town e-mail account, superstreets@hollyspringsnc.us, has helped traffic engineers pinpoint ways to improve traffic flow, said Town Engineering Director Stephanie Sudano. Town officials have shared that feedback with state transportation officials.

“Every single e-mail that has come in about superstreets has been responded to, both by us and by D.O.T.,” she said.

The so-called “superstreet” design for N.C. 55 dates to at least 2008, when plans for the shopping center were approved.

Use of the relatively new superstreet design is growing in the Triangle and elsewhere as a way to keep traffic flowing on major roads where congestion is increasing substantially.

In addition to Target, the first phase of Holly Springs Towne Center will include Marshalls, Petco, Michaels, Pier 1 Imports, Ulta, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Children’s Place, Kay Jewelers, Charming Charlie, Massage Envy, and Mattress Firm.

Restaurants and other food establishments will include Olive Garden Restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Zaxby’s, and Starbucks. A movie theater and bowling alley are in phase II.

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