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Fence along greenway

Guiding Decisions This Quarter

The Imagine Cary Community Plan includes several policies that guide decisions on transportation projects through the planning, programming, design, acquisition, and construction phases, including:

  • Ensuring safety for all users
  • Multimodal or “complete street” design
  • Context sensitive design
  • Improving connections or “closing gaps”
  • Minimizing thoroughfare widths
  • Improving bicycle/pedestrian crossings
  • Targeting transit investments
  • Ensuring a well-maintained system

The second quarter each year includes significant work in the planning and programming phase when decisions are made to set priorities for FY 2019 projects.  Applications for project funding are submitted to the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO) competitive Locally Administered Projects Program (LAPP) and considered through the Wake Transit project selection process. These efforts address policies 4 and 7, which target investments to improve connections and close gaps in the roadway, bicycle, and pedestrian networks, and target investments in transit to increase frequency and expand service. Staff evaluates potential projects for their competitiveness in each program prior to submittal. Funding recommendation decisions are received from CAMPO and Wake Transit in the third quarter each year. 

Projects submitted to LAPP in fall 2018 for the 2019 funding round included:

  • Reedy Creek Road Part B construction,
  • Connected Vehicle Technology upgrades,
  • Higgins Greenway Phase III Construction (into downtown), and
  • Downtown Multimodal Center design and acquisition.

In addition to the planning and programming efforts in the second quarter, there continues to be year-round work on design, acquisition, and construction for projects that are programmed in the Town’s Capital Improvement Program, the Wake Transit Program, the State’s Transportation Improvement Program, and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Improvement Program. A key strategy in the implementation of the MOVE Chapter is to expand Town funding resources through participation in these regional programs. Significant project milestones are discussed in detail below.

Morrisville Parkway Extension and Interchange

Good progress is being made on the Morrisville Parkway Extension and Interchange project. Duke Energy has relocated their facilities that were in conflict with the road work, Spectrum is currently working to address their conflicts, and AT&T will begin work soon. Cary has been the lead agency during the design, right-of-way acquisition, and utility relocation phases of the project, receiving all necessary final approvals in the second quarter of FY 2018. As we move into the construction phase, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will be taking the lead on this regionally significant project, which includes both a roadway extension and the addition of an interchange with upgraded technology on NC 540. On December 19, NCDOT successfully held the bid opening and we are working together to begin construction in spring 2018. We anticipate the project being open to traffic in about two years, or by end of calendar year 2019. The project construction budget is approximately $22.5 million, including $3 million in federal funding through LAPP and $8.9 million from the NC Turnpike Authority.

Carpenter Fire Station Road/CSX Rail Separation

The Carpenter Fire Station Road/CSX Rail Separation project continues to be a challenge on many fronts but good progress is being made toward obtaining the necessary state, federal, and private railroad approvals and agreements needed to advance to the construction phase. Utility agreements and construction documents have been forwarded to CSX for their execution and approval. We are also working with CSX to execute agreements associated with right of way, maintenance, and construction. Designs have been approved by NCDOT, and we anticipate receiving associated encroachment agreements shortly. The final plans include enhancements to bridge aesthetics and medians. We anticipate advertising for construction in the fourth quarter of FY 2018. Staff has been working with 20 property owners to secure 29 affected rights of way and easements necessary for the construction. To ensure that the project schedule is not delayed, Council approved condemnation resolutions at the December 14 meeting for properties where rights of way or easement negotiations continue. The project budget is approximately $30 million, including $1.2 million in funding associated with private development contributions.

Green Level West Road

On December 15, the Town’s contractor shifted traffic into Phase 3 of the construction of the Green Level West Road Widening project to build the median.  Construction of two new lanes in each direction have been completed as part of Phases 1 and 2. In the second quarter of FY 2018, the Town installed and tested a new waterline on the north side of the new street. The project remains on schedule; its budget is $10 million, including $2.9 million in federal funding through LAPP.

Cary Parkway/High House Road Intersection

A revised bid package was approved by NCDOT and three construction bids were received on November 22. Approval for the bid award to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder will be brought to Council in Quarter 3. In advance of beginning construction this spring, we are coordinating public outreach strategies as well as working with our private utility partners to relocate any remaining facilities and install temporary street lighting. Relocation of private utility facilities in advance of construction will reduce the risk of accidental damage and outages while temporary street lighting will help illuminate the work zone during construction. The project budget is $5.1 million, including $3.5 million in federal funding through LAPP.

Reduce Congestion Through Intersection Improvements

The High Meadow and Cary Parkway intersection is under construction with the majority of the concrete work already in place. The remainder of the work, including signal modifications, pavement markings, and signing, will be completed in Quarter 3. The other intersection improvements included in this project, which are scheduled for construction at the beginning of 2018, are:

  • Kildaire Farm Road Road and Cary Parkway
  • Evans Road and Cary Parkway
  • High House Road and Maynard Road

Private utility companies are working now to relocate private utility conflicts in advance of construction. The project budget is $4.8 million.

Reedy Creek Road Widening

The Reedy Creek Road design is almost complete. Rights-of-way and easements have been staked in the field to allow for appraisals and property negotiations in winter 2018. This project includes two roundabouts, which include brick narrow median islands, and is scheduled to begin construction in 2019.  The project budget is $7 million, including $5.5 million in federal funding through LAPP.

Crabtree Creek Greenway

Construction of Crabtree Creek Greenway is about 50 percent complete and on track for completion in fall 2018. Over the winter, the contractor, Fred Smith Company, will install the 100-foot bridge across Crabtree Creek and the 700-foot boardwalk across the Black Creek arm of Lake Crabtree. The 1.7-mile trail is graded and ready for stone and paving next by summer 2018. When complete, the trail will offer spectacular views of Lake Crabtree as it runs from Black Creek Greenway at the east end of Lake Crabtree to Evans Road. At its west end, the trail will connect to a 2.7-mile segment that Town of Morrisville is currently constructing, creating a 4.4-mile continuous trail from the Black Creek Greenway to Davis Drive. The project budget is $5.4 million, including $4.2 million in federal funding through LAPP and $500K from Wake County.

White Oak Creek Greenway-MacArthur 

Design and plan approvals are complete for the White Oak Creek Greenway MacArthur Section, one of the last two gaps remaining in Cary’s 7.2-mile White Oak Creek Greenway. We are currently working with CSX on the final agreement documents for the pedestrian tunnel under the railroad. With those in hand, we will request approval from NCDOT and the Federal Highway Authority to bid the project. Construction is anticipated to start in spring 2018 and be completed in summer 2019. The project budget is $7 million, including $2 million in federal funding through LAPP.

Completion of the two White Oak Creek Greenway projects creates a central link in the Triangle portion of the East Coast Greenway, a regional trail planned to run from Maine to Florida.

White Oak Creek Greenway: American Tobacco Trail Segment

Construction of this segment of trail from Green Level Church Road to the American Tobacco Trail is 30 percent complete and on track for a completion in the fall 2018. This two-mile stretch of greenway consists of one mile of boardwalk and one mile of paved trail. This segment and the MacArthur segment will complete the last two gaps of the 7.2 miles of White Oak Creek greenway. The cost of design and construction for this project is estimated at $5.2 million, which was provided by a combination of the 2012 Cary Community Bonds, federal funding through LAPP of $2.7 million, and a Wake County Open Space grant of $565,200.

Panther Creek Greenway q2

Panther Creek Greenway

Design and plan approvals are complete for the Panther Creek Greenway. We are currently working to rebid the project because bids received in October 2017 were over budget. With adjustments to the construction specifications and the bid tabulation, staff will accept new bids for the project in January 2018. Construction is anticipated to start in Spring 2018 and be completed in Summer 2019. The estimated total project design and construction cost is $2.4 million. This project is funded in part by the 2012 Cary Community Bonds and federal funding through LAPP of $1 million. 

Black Creek Greenway Phase I, II, & V Renovation Project

A 2.5-mile section of the Black Creek Greenway is being redesigned. It was originally constructed approximately 25 years ago. The new design includes adding the new segment of Phase V, which will avoid the current hill on Dynasty Drive and require the installation of four new bridges. NCDOT has approved State Transportation Improvement Program funding for the project, and staff is currently working on the agreement. Next steps include easement acquisition and then final permit and plan approvals. Total project is estimated at $6 million. A final bidding and construction schedule is being developed.

Wake Transit Activities

Transit staff participated in a multi-agency public outreach campaign this fall. Citizen feedback collected during the ten meetings and multiple “pop-up” events will guide the prioritization of Wake Transit projects over the next ten years. There are two major studies underway that will further guide project development.

The Multi-Year Bus Service Implementation Plan, known as the “Bus Service Plan,” is looking at potential changes for existing service, in addition to developing a prioritization structure for the implementation of new service. The goal is to provide more service at increased frequencies, with better connections to employment centers, dense residential areas, medical facilities, schools, and downtown areas.

The Major Investment Study (MIS) will evaluate and recommend high-capacity transit investments for bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors in Wake County, as well as the Wake-Durham commuter rail. The MIS also ties into Cary’s downtown feasibility study, which will kick-off in spring 2018. This study will evaluate site options for a new downtown multi-modal transit facility to function as Cary’s main transfer hub for local and regional bus service, BRT and commuter rail service with park and ride facilities, as well as Amtrak. The BRT corridor recommendations from the MIS will be taken into consideration as Cary decides how BRT will interact with downtown and nearby development.

While the final BRT corridors have yet to be selected, we know that one of the first will provide a direct line between downtown Raleigh and downtown Cary, with the Eastern Cary Gateway in between. Regardless of where the final routes are drawn, or where the stops and stations are placed, this area will benefit substantially from the inclusion of public transit.

The Draft FY 2019 Work Plan will be presented to Wake County Transit Planning Committee on January 17, which also marks the beginning of the public comment period.  Cary is the project sponsor for the following projects, which total more than $14,000,000:

fy19 work plan draft

GoCary Operations

GoCary continues to see an increase in ridership as a result of service enhancements made possible through Wake Transit funding for expanded operations earlier in the fiscal year. The addition of Sunday service, 30-minute frequencies on four of our routes, and a new discount fare for students has contributed to an 18 percent increase in fixed route ridership when compared to the same time period last year. Door-to-door ridership has also increased 11 percent for the same period.

Recent acquisition of the URL has improved marketing efforts and brand recognition for GoCary transit use. The new address makes it easier for our citizens to find us online. We are revamping our online presence to make it more user-friendly, including the addition of a Google trip planner widget, better navigation to maps and schedules, and the addition of a Google Translate button to meet our Limited English Proficiency requirements under Title VI.

GoCary held its annual food drive in November, which resulted in a 700-pound donation of canned goods to Dorcas Ministries the week before Thanksgiving.