A major road project thought to be delayed is set to begin construction in Carrboro, just weeks before students are moving back to the area for the fall semester. The town announced Tuesday that the construction on the Estes Drive/North Greensboro Street roundabout would begin on August 5. Construction of a roundabout on South Greensboro Street forced that roadway to be closed last summer.
Once construction begins next Monday on the Estes/North Greensboro roundabout, delays and lane closures are expected to happen frequently since workers will be there from 9 a.m. through sunset until the project’s completion.
North Carolina’s Department of Transportation has been installing more roundabouts in the state because they reduce congestion on high-traffic roads. In Carrboro, however, the construction is likely going to cause more congestion at one of its most popular intersections.
During a conversation with WCHL’s Aaron Keck, Carrboro mayor Lydia Lavelle said the town will keep its residents updated on changes caused by the construction. She understands, though, it will complicate the roadways until the roundabout is finished.
“While we’re pleased that it’s going to be moving forward,” Lavelle said, “we recognize it’s going to create a little bit of havoc on the town.”
Studies show roundabouts are safer compared to stop signs or traffic lights. NCDOT reports a 46 percent decrease in total crashes at intersections in the state where they have constructed roundabouts. They also report drivers typically wait for less time to enter a roundabout than waiting for a traffic signal to change. The intersection at Estes Drive and North Greensboro Street has been prone to accidents over the last few years.
The timeline of the Estes/North Greensboro project was unclear after bidding for construction was apparently halted by state officials. But Lavelle said the roundabout should see no more setbacks.
“We initially had gotten feedback that it was going to be delayed because of some recision concerns with the federal government,” said Lavelle. “But it is on track.”
When told the project could be delayed at the Board of Aldermen meeting in June, board member Jacquie Gist expressed her concern about construction potentially beginning around when UNC students would be returning to campus and school starting in the town.
“Please keep an eye on it,” Gist said, “or we could have a real mess on our hands if we don’t pay attention.”
The Town of Carrboro website suggests travelers use Homestead Road for alternative routes around the construction zone, especially during evening traffic.
The Estes Drive/North Greensboro Street roundabout is projected to be completed in September 2021.