In the May 15 special meeting of the Village Council, Pat Ivey (area NCDOT engineer) and representatives of the engineering firm Kimley Horn provided an update on the Lewisville-Clemmons Road project (“aka The Median”). The information provided is preliminary and subject to further engineering, community input, and collaboration between the village council and NCDOT with the goal of making a community decision on the project in time for TAC points to be allocated in September (thus prioritizing the project).
Improvements to the I-40 interchange bridge and ramps are in scope for the project but were not included as part of the presentation as additional study and engineering are required for the bridge. So, the presentation covered just improvements to L-C Road.
Teresa Gresham with Kimley Horn presented most of the material. Ms. Gresham noted that the main goal of the L-C Road project is to improve safety. According to Ms. Gresham, L-C Road has a crash rate of 798 per 100 million miles of vehicle travel compared to 472 per 100 million miles for similar state roads. The section between I-40 and Stadium, considered in isolation, has a staggering crash rate of 1,387 per 100 million miles, almost three times that of similar roads. The proposed road improvements are projected to have only marginal benefits for traffic flow and delays; however, the bridge improvements will be largely focused on improving those metrics as well as clearing traffic from the I-40 ramps.
NCDOT is proposing a median starting at I-40, broken at Sessions Court and the Westwood/Kmart signal, and ending at Stadium Drive. The northbound right-hand turn lane used to enter I-40 East will be extended down to Stadium Drive.
At Sessions Court, the northbound lane of L-C Road will have a left-hand turn into Sessions Court and the southbound lane will have a left hand turn into the Verizon parking lot. Traffic will not be able to turn left when entering L-C Road from Sessions Court or the Verizon lot. In this section, the businesses on the west side of the road do not lose any parking, but Verizon may lose some spaces adjacent to the road.
Traffic exiting the Westwood Village or Kmart shopping centers will be able to turn left onto L-C Road, but left-hand turns into Westwood Village or Kmart from L-C Road are not allowed.
Southbound traffic destined for Kmart would enter the Kmart lot from Stadium Drive or the L-C Road entrance via a U-turn at Stadium. Northbound traffic would enter Westwood Village at Sessions Court or the main entrance via a U-Turn at Sessions Court.
You can also see from these images that the businesses on the east side of the road lose some frontage to the northbound turn lane. On the west side of the road, McDonald’s loses several parking spaces. This intersection configuration would seem to necessitate improvements to Sessions Court and the Westwood Village parking lot to facilitate additional northbound traffic entering Westwood Village via Sessions Court as well as compensating for the lost space in the McDonald’s lot, which is frequently full. It should be noted that NCDOT is planning to leave the lane widths at 11 feet. It’s not clear from these images if the road footprint includes sidewalks and/or bike lanes, which may cause additional parking impacts.
NCDOT is planning an additional southbound left-hand turn lane at Stadium. Although not currently part of the project scope, Mr. Ivey indicated that NCDOT could consider adding a signal at Stadium and Highway 158 to handle additional traffic that may enter Stadium on L-C Road and cut through to Highway 158, which is already a dangerous intersection.
North of the bridge, NCDOT is proposing an additional right-hand turn lane from northbound L-C Road to Peacehaven.
The rest of L-C Road will continue to be served by the current left-hand turn lane, but an additional southbound left-hand turn lane will be added at L-C Road and Highway 158. NCDOT studied adding additional median infrastructure to the road but concluded that the additional expense was unwarranted based on the crash data.
No funding is provided for building additional roads parallel to L-C Road; however, the Market Center Drive project (funded by the village) will provide rear access to the businesses on the east side of L-C Road north of Stadium (Village Inn, Verizon, Mi Pueblo, etc), which will also keep their L-C Road driveways.
NCDOT is also offering to include sidewalks and/or bike lanes for either the I-40/Stadium Drive section or the entire road, subject to cost sharing with the village. Judging from the images above, adding these amenities may require additional right-of-way that may further impact to parking adjacent to the roadway. Burying the utilities in the I-40/Stadium Dr section is also on the table for discussion, subject to cost sharing.
If the project is approved, right-of-way acquisition would occur in 2023 and construction in 2025. There will be a public workshop in July after which NCDOT will amend the plan and collaborate with the Village Council to select design elements for each section of the road. Once this process is complete, a second public input meeting is expected prior to allocation of our TAC points in September. NCDOT expects the project will exceed $21 million due to the interchange improvements.
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