MIDLAND — The Town of Midland heard some good news for two transportation projects during the town council meeting Tuesday.
The NC Department of Transportation has agreed to consider the Bethel School Road and Highway 24/27 intersection project, Town Engineer Richard McMillan said.
During discussions, the NCDOT stated that a reduced conflict intersection would be its preferred choice. This type of intersection requires motorists turning off Bethel School Road to only make right turns onto Highway 24/27. There will then be a space in the median for motorists needing to go left to make a U-turn.
The NCDOT estimated the project to cost $1 million, with each traffic signal estimated at $250,000.
The state had tried to put the project on the budget for this quarter but it didn’t make it. The NCDOT said it would be up for next quarter.
Council member Mike Tallent stated his support for the reduced conflict intersection considering the area’s heavy traffic.
“If you have ever tried to get out of Bethel School Road there to turn left between five and six you need to pay close attention this would be a great help, but I would still like to have an opportunity for the citizens to come in,” Tallent said.
Mayor Pro-Tem Darren Hartsell was the council member who had first suggested to council to forward a project to aid with the heavy congestion and high number of accidents at the intersection. He said the NCDOT’s design idea was what the town needed.
“I think it is a great idea and I wouldn’t guess that anybody would say that they wouldn’t be for that,” Hartsell said. “I can’t imagine anybody would say that it isn’t a great idea.”
At the U-turn, the proposed reduced conflict intersection will have no truck thru traffic because the turn would be too sharp for tractor-trailers, McMillan said.
The NCDOT also recently lifted the town Bethel School Road Sidewalk CMAQ project’s suspension.
The project ultimately is set to install a 5 foot sidewalk along the northern side of Bethel School Road beginning at Saddle Brook Drive and continue to the Rob Wallace Park entrance.
Because the project is federally backed, a certified contractor is required to oversee it. The original plan was to have McMillan over see it, but due to certification issues, the NCDOT had asked the town to hire a contractor.
McMillan said the cost to hire someone to be out at the project site for about three months would be a large amount.
After he discussed the project with NCDOT again, he asked for a different solution.
They are in discussions with the division engineer. The state has certified people who could oversee the project.
“I am trying to get, because of our size and because of the project size, to get the state to agree to put somebody from the NCDOT on it,” he said.
The project, he said, was relatively small. He asked if the Town of Midland could pay for an NCDOT personnel to be function as the inspector.
The NCDOT had not yet responded to McMillan’s Offer.
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