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Road improvements plan still moving forward

State funds currently being used for hurricane recovery

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Clemmons Village Council received a favorable update in Monday night’s meeting on NCDOT Project U-6004, which is better known for proposed improvements on the busy stretch of Lewisville-Clemmons Road and the I-40 interchange, after learning in the previous meeting from NCDOT that all preconstruction activities on this project had been put on hold until further notice.

Councilman Chris Wrights said that he, councilwoman P.J. Lofland and Mayor John Wait met with NCDOT officials last Tuesday and were encouraged that work is still being done and that the project itself may not be delayed since right-of-way acquisition is not scheduled to begin in 2023 with construction to start in 2025.

“The halting of funds is due to the disasters (Hurricanes Florence and Michael), and the state is spending that money at this time to fix those items,” Wrights said. “When money is reimbursed from the federal government, they’ll be able to start back up. They couldn’t guarantee there won’t be any delays, but they’re hoping to get these budget issues addressed pretty quickly.”

Wrights, who serves as one of the Council liaisons for the project along with Lofland, said that they learned the hired consultants are the ones who have stopped working on the project but that NCDOT employees are continuing to work and another hire could provide a different perspective.

“Because of the consultants being out, they’ve hired a gentleman named Joseph Hummer from N.C. State to come on as a congestion management expert,” Wrights said. “He’s done that at N.C. State for many years, and he’s taking a look at the road and seeing what issues need to be addressed, when and where. They did say a lot of his style is very unconventional and that he comes from the Midwest.

“So what with we had seen last year, what he comes up with may be something completely different than what we saw last year. I know there were some concerns on some of the interchanges, so those may be different when we get the new designs next spring.”

Wrights said that they were told by NCDOT officials that the scope of the project wasn’t changing and were reassured “100 percent” that a proposed median on Lewisville-Clemmons Road would not extend from Stadium Drive to U.S. 158 — and stop at Stadium coming from I-40.

He added that NCDOT was still looking at improvements at the Lewisville-Clemmons Road/ Peace Haven Road intersection and the Lewisville-Clemmons Road/U.S. 158 intersection.

In addition, Wrights said NCDOT officials mentioned that one of their groups did a short study on the Stadium Drive/U.S. 158 intersection and the initial results indicated that intersection was indeed a problem and further research was needed to see what kind of improvements could be made there. However, it will not be part of the current project.

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

• Heard from planner Nasser Rahimzadeh regarding possible modifications regarding a tree save area in the proposed Tanglewood Forest subdivision, which has 18 lots on 5.52 acres off Clinard Road, and agreed by Council consensus to have Rahimzadeh first give the developer the opportunity on whether or not to accept that condition.

• Appointed Gregory Conlon to the Planning Board with the term expiring in June 2020.

• Appointed Christian Griffith, Anabelle McElroy and Tom Burkett to the Zoning Board of Adjustment with Griffith and McElroy’s terms expiring in June 2021 and Burkett’s term expiring in June 2020.

• Appointed Julie Morton to the Stormwater Advisory Board with the term expiring in June 2021.

• Approved a Citizen Board Appreciation Proposal, including a budget amendment, on recognizing volunteers for local boards, including press releases, gift cards and an annual pass to Tanglewood.

• Approved converting the mayor’s physical office space at Village Hall to a conference room/flex space for council members to use and give them a place to work.

• Heard from Shannon Ford in the marketing/communications report that the next Movie Night in the Village will be “The Lego Movie 2” Saturday night at the Jerry Long Family YMCA. She noted that the next Coffee with a Cop program would coincide with the National Coffee with a Cop Day and will be held next Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Clemmons Food Pantry. Ford added that the annual Monster Dash and Goblin Hop will be held Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Village Point Greenway.

• Heard from Jason Cockerham in the public comments portion of the meeting. He expressed concerns about the management of traffic at the intersection of Holder Road and Lewisville-Clemmons Road, especially with the schools in the area and no one directing traffic during those heavy volume times.