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The Daily Tar Heel

Aldermen Discuss Road Expansion

The options for Homestead Road included such improvements as bicycle lanes, sidewalks, paved shoulders, medians and roundabouts.

The aldermen also discussed whether Homestead Road should be a two-, three-, or four-lane road.

"The (Transportation Advisory) Board is comfortable with any of these alternatives," said Dale McKeel, Carrboro's transportation planner.

The project overall covers the area between High School Road and Airport Road, with the portion between High School Road and Rogers Road falling under Carrboro's jurisdiction.

Projected cost for the development is $7.2 million.

Carrboro has favored one specific option, Alternative Five, since 1993. But Mayor Mike Nelson said he would be willing to support Alternative One, favored by the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the TAB.

The two options differ in that Alternative One advocates a three-lane road, and Alternative Five would have two lanes.

Although the aldermen debated the merits of both alternatives, they ultimately voted 6-0 in favor of Alternative One.

Chris van Hasselt, who sits on the TAB, highlighted the positive aspects of Alternative One.

"The one thing it gives you is less turning," he said. "By minimizing the number of turns, you're going to minimize the number of accidents."

McKeel and van Hasselt both said each of the alternatives will handle projected motor vehicle use through 2025, in accordance with the 2025 Transportation Plan that details transit developments for Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro in the next 23 years.

"All the options seems to satisfy the demand they expect on that road," said van Hasselt.

Nelson said he was not averse to putting his support behind Alternative One.

"I could live with Alternative One, but I would prefer a two-lane alternative," he said.

Alderman Alex Zaffron said he has been a supporter of Alternative Five in the past.

"I've always preferred Alternative Five, but the TAB has long been a voice of reason and objective analysis," he said. "I'll suck it up and support Alternative One."

The aldermen also debated the idea of creating roundabouts on Homestead Road.

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist was opposed to the idea because of the roundabout's proximity to High School Road, and the fact that many new drivers travel the road and would have to navigate the roundabout.

"I don't know if a couple thousand kids getting out of a high school are the first ones we want to learn about roundabouts," she said. "I very, very strongly do not want a roundabout at High School Road."

Alena Callimanis, a resident of Camden Road in Chapel Hill, suggested the aldermen table the discussion of roundabouts for now because they can create problems for children who walk to school.

The inclusion of a roundabout was not part of Alternative One, but the aldermen have not yet concluded deliberating the issue.

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