NCDOT working on plan for Lewisville-Clemmons Road improvements
Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 7, 2019
By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier
After the Clemmons Village Council allocated all 100 Transportation Advisory Committee points last September to Project U-6004, better known as Lewisville-Clemmons Road, the project made it onto the new State Transportation Improvement Program’s list.
So now it’s time for NCDOT Division 9 officials to get busy with devising a plan to make improvements to the busy stretch of highway from I-40 to U.S. 158, including the interchange.
“We’re actually now in the process of working with our consultant to put some new task orders together to get our work group from the council with two their members to sort of be liaisons between the DOT and the Village,” said Pat Ivey, Division 9 engineer. “It will probably be early spring when we’ll be cranking up that work again on what the ultimate plan for that needs to be. We’ll be working directly with the city on getting those next steps put into place.”
Although the council approved the road improvements, including the NCDOT’s recommendation for a median, several board members wanted to make sure they would be involved in the process going forward — saying they wanted to confirm the vote wasn’t for or against a median but that they will be a part of the discussions with NCDOT.
The decision to allocate the points for the project last September culminated a long process that started nearly a year earlier when the mayor (John Wait) and three council members (Michelle Barson, Scott Binkley and P.J. Lofland) were elected largely on a “no median” platform and then faced with addressing the dangerous stretch of Lewisville-Clemmons Road — including many twists and turns before the NCDOT ultimately recommended that a median be placed from I-40 to Stadium Drive, which is only 20 percent of the entire corridor.
Ivey said that all the preliminary findings showed the shorter median for the busiest part of the road to be the best option. The council constantly pushed NCDOT for more options and alternatives, and wanted to be assured it would be heard as the process continues with more detailed analysis of the project.
Mike Combest, who was on the previous council that supported NCDOT’s request for a median, said that all the evidence pointed to supporting the project, including the median and how it would help safety, traffic flow and also help businesses because of less congestion.
Councilman Chris Wrights, who is the other remaining member of the previous council — and the only one opposed at that time — said what was presented then was a median all the way from I-40 to U.S. 158 and that his concern was all the standalone businesses from Stadium Drive to U.S. 158 that would have been impacted. He said most of the businesses from I-40 to Stadium Drive at least have rear access.
Wrights voted in favor of the project in the September meeting in a decisive 4-1 vote (Lofland cast the lone vote against), saying he thought Clemmons needed “to be at the table” instead of NCDOT ultimately deciding itself how to deal with the road.
Lofland, a longtime vocal opponent of any medians, said she ran and was elected on a platform of no medians and has not changed her mind on this one, although she said that improvements to the road are needed and that the Clemmons community had provided some good options to consider.
Wrights and Lofland were appointed in that September meeting to be the two delegates from the council to work with NCDOT going forward.
In addition to the five-lane stretch of Lewisville-Clemmons Road from I-40 to U.S. 158, the project will include a much-needed new interchange at I-40.
“We’ve still got a lot of work we’ve got to do,” Ivey said. “We haven’t even started looking at the interchange yet, and that will be a big, big part of this project.”
Ivey said that right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2023, followed by construction in 2025.