Roads win out over sidewalks for possible funding: Council chooses Springfield Farm Road extension over Marty Lane sidewalks

Published 12:10 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

When it came down to two projects to consider for funding in the current Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program application cycle, the Clemmons Village Council chose roads over sidewalks in Monday night’s meeting.

After considerable discussion, the council opted to submit an extension of Springfield Farm Road to Lewisville-Clemmons Road (approximately 1,000 feet) with a total project cost of $1,180,000 (and a 20 percent village match of $236,000) over sidewalks on one side of Marty Lane from Lewisville-Clemmons Road to King Richard Drive (approximately 2,500 feet) with a total project cost of $1,250,000 (and a 20 percent village match of $250,000).

The Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization announced a call for projects from Oct. 3 to Nov. 10 to select and fund transportation projects that meet the criteria for fiscal year 2025 CMAQ funding.

While the council said it would be nice to do both projects, the majority sided with traffic concerns and voted in favor of the Springfield Farm extension to Lewisville-Clemmons Road by a 4-1 margin.

“I start to think about which project might benefit more given our deadline and the impact, and I think about traffic, and mobility, connectivity especially,” council member Bradley Taylor said. “So my recommendation, if we proceed with one of the two projects, would be the extension of Springfield Farm Road.”

Council member Mary Cameron agreed, adding, “They both need to be done. However, given the traffic problems we have, I think this money would be better spent. It will serve more people in the long run, and it will touch more people by dispersing traffic in different ways.”

Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Barson cast the lone “nay” vote.

“We’ve always continued to prioritize the road projects, and yet we just spent all this money with new tax dollars that we just did a tax increase on for nothing but roads,” Barson said of her support of the Marty Lane project. “Let’s spend a little of money on the sidewalks that we’ve been promising, too. I’d rather focus on the northern end of town, which hasn’t got the same attention in the past. There’s a lot of businesses up there but not a lot of great access for those homes and multi-family homes.”

Council member Chris Wrights said that everyone likes the idea of sidewalk projects, but he added the village doesn’t have the best history of getting them completed.

“When we come up with these road projects, they actually get done,” Wrights said. “I just feel like a road project, in my opinion, is a bigger priority.”

And as the conversation began to wind down, council member Mike Combest said: “I’m ready to vote for a road.”

In an item on the business action items portion of the agenda, the council voted unanimously to approve the low bid of $749,000 from BW Infrastructure LLC to approve the Greendale Way culvert replacement project.

Gunnell said that the project had to be rebid after an error from one of the bidders on the previous bid, stating the last bid was around $570,000, but the bid accepted on Monday night was “about where the previous low bid would have been without the error.”

Gunnell added that with $250,000 coming from the Golden Leaf Foundation, the village would be roughly $500,000 out of pocket.
Council members asked if it would be prudent to wait and see if prices might eventually come down.

“I wish I had a crystal ball,” Gunnell said. “I keep thinking things are going to drop in prices, but it doesn’t seem that they are. We’re having trouble just getting contractors to just bid on projects.”

In addition, Gunnell said that the Greendale Way project has probably been on the village’s Stormwater Capital Improvements Program list the longest.

“The culvert has overtopped,” he said. “I’ve been there personally when it was impassable. It does have some failure to it, and with the flooding there, we have significant issues with EMS, families and whatever else where people can’t get across the road. It’s a lot of money, but I feel like we need to push forward and get it done and try to get some additional funding in the process.”

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

  • Discussed a Harper Road sewer extension, and after hearing the original estimate was $320,000, and now it’s $737,000, decided to put the project back out for rebid after the first of the year.
  • Called for a public hearing for a zoning map amendment for PMA I Holdings LLC for real property owned by Jasper L. Harper Sr. and Jasper L. Harper Jr. from RS-30 (Residential Single Family) to RS-20 (Residential Single Family) for property addressed 0 Harper Road, located east of Michelle Drive and north of Lismore Street and Dunmore Court, consisting of 26.76 acres (Zoning Docket C-255).
  • Heard from Gunnell regarding an update to an item on the manager’s report in the last meeting where the council approved a private property drainage cost-share project at 3920 Fieldview Court with a total cost of $17,190, meaning a split cost to Clemmons and the homeowner for $8,595 each. However, Gunnell said that the homeowner had second thoughts and withdrew the application.
    “We are still doing the project,” Gunnell said. “We worked out another way to discharge the pipe. I met him out there. He’s much happier, so we proceeded on. It’s getting fixed, and saved us some money, everybody money, with the alternative we came up with.”
  • Received a quarterly stormwater update from Emily Harrison, stormwater technician II. She reported that there were a total of 33 projects from July through September — including seven structure repairs, 11 right-of-way ditch projects, four minor culvert replacements and five shoulder repair locations. Minor CIP replacements included Belfield Court, Sebastian Court, Winview/Sharpe Street and Knob Hill.
  • Heard from Gunnell on a possible Haywood Street traffic calming device but determined there wasn’t adequate sight distance even with a 25 mph speed limit. He suggested a three-way stop. Based on this being a safety issue concerning traffic and an engineer’s recommendation, Mayor Mike Rogers said that this would be considered a staff decision — not a council decision.
  • Heard from Amy Flyte, assistant manager, that she received notice from NCDOT that work on landscape improvements at the Harper Road interchange at I-40 has begun.
  • Set council retreat dates for January 2024 on Monday, Jan. 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (replacing the usual fourth Monday council meeting), and on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 9 a.m. to noon. The retreat will be held at the Winston-Salem Foundation meeting space in downtown Winston-Salem.