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The Daily Tar Heel

What's going on with the construction in Carrboro?

At the intersection of Estes Dr. and North Greensboro St. trees have been cut down and power lines are being relocated as the city of Carrboro is starting to prepare for construction on a roundabout on that intersection. Photographed on April 2, 2019.

For those of you wondering why utility workers have showed up at the intersection of North Greensboro Street and Estes Drive, don't worry. This construction in Carrboro is in preparation for the site of a future roundabout.

Duke Energy is relocating their underground utility lines and PSNC Energy will do the same soon. They are doing this so that when the contractor bids for the roundabout construction are released work can begin as soon as possible.

“We are building the roundabout to try and improve the flow of traffic patterns because there are some severe backups, especially on Estes, I believe, during peak hours,” said Chad Reimakoski, with the N.C. Department of Transportation Highway Division 7. “... It’s more of a continuous flow, so traffic doesn’t get stopped and backed up.”

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen approved the Estes/Greensboro roundabout in April 2011, to compete for state funding along with numerous other local projects in the Transportation Improvement Program. The project was projected to cost $500,000, with the funding from Highway Sources. 

“It made it into our transportation plan in 2016, which means we start planning to fund it and construct the project,” said Aaron Moody, NCDOT public relations officer.

Bidding for the roundabout project will begin in May 2019. The NCDOT puts out plans that include construction requirements, then contractors look them over and submit a price. The NCDOT then takes the lowest bid and awards it to the contractor. After this process happens, the contractor can begin construction immediately, as the utility lines are already being relocated.

The construction will be under traffic, so it will affect drivers in the area.

“Based on the different construction phases, there may be times when the entire intersection is closed to traffic with detour routes provided,” said Zachary Hallock, transportation planner for Carrboro. “Other times may allow one lane of traffic to be open.”

Reimakowski said the NCDOT is allowing the contractor several paving seasons to construct the roundabout, but is hoping it can be done in six to nine months. A paving season around here is from April to October, as pavement can only be laid in relatively warm temperatures of 50 degrees or higher, he said.

The pavement process itself will begin with upsizing culverts along North Greensboro Street, as they are not big enough for the roundabout, he said. Then they will add and lay out the pavement a phase at a time. Once the surface layer has been put down, stripes will be added.

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