Most roads in our area of town are managed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). While property developers often agree to make improvements to sections of roads, they only improve their relevant portion, leaving some roads partially widened at particular locations. The Town of Cary works closely with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to identify projects worthy of funding and collect data and input from the public to help prioritize particular projects. In order to see which roads in our area of town are owned by which municipality, click here for an interactive map.
NCDOT is made up of several "divisions" which do not necessarily follow city or county borders in any way. Our region falls into both Division 5 and Division 8. Our division engineer for Division 5 is Brandon Jones while for Division 8 it is Joey Hopkins. Every 2-3 years, NCDOT develops a plan, called the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) that helps prioritize funding for all transportation needs across all divisions in the state of North Carolina. These projects span several transportation categories: aviation, highways, bike/pedestrian, and ferries. This is how funding for interstate improvements, new highways, infrastructure improvements, and everything else NCDOT covers is allocated. While there is a public input process to NCDOT, more decisions are made with data interpretation by NCDOT staff rather than a political process as none of our transportation officials are elected. In general, public meetings are much less often and not as well advertised.
If the Town of Cary determines a road improvement to be necessary that is a low priority on NCDOT's funding list, they have the option of funding improvements themselves or try to make a deal with NCDOT to pay for the improvement now and have NCDOT pay the Town back later (this was done to expand NC-55 to multiple lanes several years ago--Town of Cary felt this was a more urgent project than the NCDOT had determined, so this resulted in this road improvement happen sooner than planned out in the STIP).
Below are several projects in our area that we feel are vitally important to the growth of our community:
Carpenter fire station road widening
This project is already programmed for funding in FY2018 ($9.7 million). As of the most recent Town of Cary Budget (FY2018), funding is planned to be allocated towards this project starting in FY2018 ($1.1 million), FY2019 ($2.5 million), and FY2020 ($6.1 million). According to the FY2018 budget, $3 million is being spent by the Town (in addition to several million by NCDOT) for improvements at NC-55 and Carpenter Fire Station Road that includes a grade separation for the CSX Railroad.
As of August 2017, a request for qualifications (RFQ) was recently opened by the Town of Cary to bid on the design of this project. This will close on September 1st, after which the Town will identify a firm to plan and design the entire widening (plan for utility relocations, property encroachments, etc.).
Green level church road widening
This project has been moved up as we have requested! While initially funded for FY2024-FY2026, it is now planned for FY2019 to finish road widening. This has also partially been sped up by the developer of the Ridgefield Farms property as well as the opening of Hortons Creek Elementary. Hopefully, this will be complete by the summer of 2019.
O'Kelly chapel road - little drive connection at parkside town commons
This project will connect Parkside Town Commons across the CSX railroad to developments behind the Target and other parts of town. This connectivity will vastly improve transportation in our area, along with the eventual connection of Louis Stephens Drive underneath 540. This latter project is very difficult to execute as it contains some property from Morrisville as well as NCDOT and Wake County. It is currently programmed, but not until FY2023-2025. The estimated project cost is $7.2 million. We are awaiting the closure of CSX crossings at Carpenter Fire Station Road to have this project be a viable option.
o'Kelly Chapel Road widening (green level Church Road to NC-55 Highway)
This is a project not programmed for funding scheduled for FY2024-2026. This means that it will only happen in this time frame if some additional funding source is found. This specific roadway seems to be a bottleneck already for traffic at peak times as it goes down to one lane for a short distance. Most recently, the developers of an apartment complex project offered to widen this road from Alston Avenue to NC-55. If done, this would leave one small segment near the intersection of Green Level Church Road and O'Kelly Chapel Road that would be left to widen the entire southern portion. It is still not clear if anything is being done to widen the northern portion of the road as there aren't any active development plans for this property. It remains to be seen what the Town of Cary is planning for this portion of road. We hope this entire corridor will be a focus as we will inevitably see this section of road be a pinch point once school starts up at Horton's Creek Elementary. Our advocacy efforts continue with CAMPO, NCDOT, DCHCMPO, and the Town of Cary.