Throughout North Carolina, there are several metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and rural planning organizations (RPOs). Our area of Cary falls mostly under two of these metropolitan planning organizations: Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) and Durham Chapel Hill Chatham Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHCMPO). These MPOs are coordinations between several local governmental entities to work together to help administer metropolitan growth, mainly through transportation projects, that still span various modes of transportation. Some transportation projects involve more of a collaborative effort from several entities, which is what makes these organizations successful.
We have been advocating for at two projects on the MPO level:
Morrisville parkway extension and nc-540 interchange
This has been a joint project between the Town of Cary and NCDOT, with help from the Capital Area MPO (CAMPO). This will eventually connect Morrisville Parkway across 540 and provide an additional interchange to be able to access NC-540 via Morrisville Parkway. It is currently scheduled to open in the 2020, with construction beginning in the spring of 2018. Historically, it had been planned sooner, but it has been delayed due to its relative priority compared to other pressing projects as well as the North Carolina Turnpike Authority offering to pay for more of the project if an interchange could also be constructed at the same time Morrisville Parkway is extended. The Town of Cary has acquired the right of way to complete the last 1.83 miles of the project. NCDOT has assigned the project to Division 5. We are continuing to provide feedback to NCDOT, the Town of Cary, and CAMPO regarding the necessity of this project for our area.
GRade separated crossing/pedestrian hybrid beacon at o'kelly chapel Road/american Tobacco trail intersection
This intersection has been previously identified by the Town of Cary to NCDOT as a priority for our Town in the future. While not a need currently, the vision of the Town of Cary is to connect more of our Greenways to the American Tobacco Trail. As this continues to happen in the future, we are recommending with the Town to the DCHCMPO that this project be assigned a high priority in the future for NCDOT funds. In the near term, this intersection almost qualifies based on usage alone for an improvement at the intersection such as a pedestrian hybrid beacon, but did not quite meet requirements based on a May 2016 traffic study conducted by Chatham County. We will continue to ask for monitoring of this intersection and ask that all users of this intersection be incredibly careful crossing the street as cars travel very quickly and may not have time to react to pedestrians in the roadway. Because of advocacy along this corridor already, the speed limit along O'Kelly Chapel Road has been dropped from 55 MPH to 45 MPH.
Most recently, we have seen this project resubmitted to the NCDOT as a part of the SPOT 5.0 process. We have also seen a proposed widening of O'Kelly Chapel Road to four lanes from 751 to the Chatham County/Wake County border. It is our hope that these projects receive high enough prioritization for future funding. We likely won't have any confirmation until 2019, but we will remain hopeful.
One new update is that the Town of Cary and NCDOT recently found funding for a rectangular rapid flashing beacon to be installed at this crosswalk. While not a grade separated crossing, this represents progress in our efforts to ensure this is a safe intersection and that there are no injuries at this crossing.