Plans to redesign a segment of Morrisville-Carpenter Road are moving ahead but are about $125,000 over budget, the Town Council learned Tuesday.
Rich Cappola Jr., Morrisville’s head engineer, attributes the 20 percent increase in costs to unforseen additional expenses. They include new fees from the state as well as several requests from nearby residents that the town’s staff would like to consider.
“Basically, as you can imagine, several of our phones started ringing from residents and HOAs with ideas they wanted,” Cappola said.
The Town Council will vote on whether to approve funding for the road project at its next meeting on Nov. 10.
The redesign will take about a year, Cappola said. Once it’s done, steps can begin to widen the half-mile stretch of Morrisville-Carpenter Road.
Morrisville already has budgeted $620,000 for the redesign part of the project, which will be led by local engineering firm Kimley-Horn and Associates.
Council member Steve Rao said the idea of redesigning the road first came up at the town council’s annual retreat in 2013, so he’s glad a final approval is approaching.
“It’s very exciting to see this project move forward,” he said.
The road widening part of the project will create a four-lane road between the Savannah neighborhood, whose entrance is at Old Savannah Drive, and N.C. 54.
The single eastbound lane frequently backs up from N.C. 54 to the intersection with Town Hall Drive. Motorists on Town Hall Drive making a left turn onto Morrisville-Carpenter Road sometimes have to sit through two or three green lights because traffic is blocking the intersection.
At the Town Council’s Tuesday meeting, the board unanimously voted to apply for a grant that would help fund the purchase of the right-of-way that will be needed to widen the road.
If approved, Morrisville would pay $200,000 toward the estimated $1 million cost. The grant would be available a year from now, according to a town report.
Once the town owns the necessary land, construction can begin to widen the road.
Widening the half-mile stretch would likely cost $4 to 5 million, town staff say. The council would likely apply for another grant that would require a 20 percent local match – about $1 million – officials said.
The town recently finished widening another nearby stretch of Morrisville-Carpenter Road and added a left-turn lane for traffic moving onto Town Hall Drive. The roadwork, between Town Hall Drive and Davis Drive, was mostly funded by a grant.
The project’s main goal was widening the road in front of Carpenter Park subdivision and improving the intersection with Davis Drive. The project also added curbs, crosswalks and sidewalks to the area, which is home to a mix of shopping centers and densely packed neighborhoods.
Morrisville paid about $350,000 toward the $1.2 million project. Of that, $250,000 came from fees levied on the developers of the Grace Park Shopping Center, along with $100,000 from the town’s general fund.
Council member Liz Johnson, who is the town representative to Wake County discussions on public transportation plans, said those discussions are now over.
The group’s last meeting was Oct. 22, she said, and a final report is set to be released in November. Morrisville officials had requested that the transportation plan focus on both rail and bus coverage, but most other Wake County towns only want buses.
Johnson said the Wake County commissioners can still make tweaks to the plan. Whatever the final plan is, she said, there likely will be a bond referendum on the 2016 ballot to raise taxes to fund the project.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran”