Yadkin County residents and other travelers on N.C. 67 will soon be seeing some construction as two new roundabouts that are scheduled to be built at two intersections in the county.
Dean Ledbetter, senior planning engineer for division 11 of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said that a roundabout will be installed in East Bend at the intersection of N.C. 67, Nebo Road and Smithtown Road, known locally as Wiseman’s Crossroads. The design work is in process and purchase of some right-of-way property to begin the project. Ledbetter said a contract is scheduled to be awarded in August. He said it is possible that the project could be completed by the end of the year.
A roundabout also is slated to be added at the intersection of N.C. 67 and PVH Quality Way in Jonesville to aid employees exiting Phillips Van Heusen. A contract already has been awarded for the project and construction is scheduled to begin soon, Ledbetter said he also anticipates this project to be completed by the end of the year. Underground work relocating utilities will be the most time consuming portion of this project, Ledbetter said.
Ledbetter said that more roundabouts could be coming to Yadkin County in the next five to seven years, particularly on a highly trafficked section of U.S. 601 through Yadkinville.
“For a good awhile we’ve been looking at this 601 corridor knowing that there’s an opportunity for it to perform better in terms of congestion and in terms of accidents,” Ledbetter said. “We’ve just got more accidents than we want and more congestion than we want. As we’ve looked at it and thought about what we could do to improve it, the one thing that really comes to mind is to do some roundabouts.”
Ledbetter met with the Yadkinville Town Board recently and the commissioners seemed amenable to such a project, which would remove some traffic signals and add four roundabouts at the U.S. 421 interchanges, the Maple Street/601 intersection and the Lee Street/U.S. 601 intersection. A median also would be added that would limit the crossing motions and turns from various business that are often the cause of accidents on this stretch of U.S. 601.
Ledbetter said that in the last two or three years, NCDOT has begun looking more closely at the U.S. 601 corridor and what improvements could be made to cut down on the accidents. A private engineering consulting firm did a study in November of last year that lead to the suggested median and roundabout additions to create safer and more efficient traffic flow.
Ledbetter said that the Yadkinville board received the idea favorably and made a motion to support the addition of the project to the future comprehensive transportation plan for the county. Ledbetter said that this is really the first small step in a lengthy process that will involve the item being added to a future transportation plan and future studies and design work will be done to evaluate the options and the possibility of securing funding for the project.
Additional town and county input from both citizens and elected officials also will be a part of the process in order to make final decisions on the project.
Ledbetter said that while NCDOT has a “good sense of what goes on in the counties” they rely strongly on “input from folks who are here.”
“We don’t come out to an area and push projects on to people unless there is local support we will not push a project,” Ledbetter said.
He did say he was encouraged by the response so far from local leaders about the potential changes to U.S. 601 and hoped that as the process goes forward over the next few years, that community members would attend meetings and hearings to share their input.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.