A NCDOT meeting planned for last week in Chapel Hill was postponed until January 2019.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the planned widening of Interstate 40 between the split with I-85 near Hillsborough and the Durham County line, which Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger says is necessary, but wants to make sure it’s done right.

“We don’t want just one plan, we want options,” says Hemminger. “So we’re hoping that when they come back they will show us some different options on that too, and our staff now has time to work with them a little bit more than just ‘hey we’re coming and showing you what we want to do’. The plan wasn’t the optimal plan for our community, I’ll just say that.”

As Hemminger points out, the purpose of these DOT meetings is for the town to offer feedback on their plans, not necessarily to dictate the plan.

Many residents are concerned that planned construction on the N.C. 86 exit along with several other interchanges on that stretch of the highway could impact neighborhoods along the road.

“This new plan cuts right through an existing neighborhood,” says Hemminger. “That neighborhood happens to be on a community well system and DOT was not aware of that. It looks like it’s in the Chapel Hill limits and in the OWASA and it’s not, so there are some issues with that. It landlocks some properties, it really diverts traffic in an interesting way and it comes out to an already failing intersection, so we weren’t sure what the advantages were.”

Maps of the proposed plan are available on the NCDOT public meetings website.