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Road work ahead? What you need to know about the road construction on Franklin Street

franklin street construction
The N.C. Department of Transportation is funding construction at the intersection where Franklin Street and Carrboro's Main Street meet. Photo courtesy of Damon Seils.

Residents going between Chapel Hill and Carrboro will notice major construction for several weeks on a main route linking the towns.

If you live in Carrboro but drive to your UNC classes, or you just want to grab something from Weaver Street, here's what you need to know.

What work is being done on the road?

Road work has officially begun on the corridor of Franklin Street that meets Carrboro’s Main Street, and will continue through the month of September. The work is primarily concerned with improving the pedestrian areas on this section of Franklin Street, according to Aaron Moody, an N.C. Department of Transportation public relations officer. Moody said these improvements will include new sidewalks, crosswalks and ADA-compliant curb ramps on this section of the road, as well as improved pedestrian signals. 

Kumar Neppalli, a traffic engineering manager for the Town of Chapel Hill, said other improvements include reducing the width of the intersection and reducing some lanes between Merritt Mill Road and Graham Street, as well as adding a high-visibility surface to the crosswalks.

He said no vehicle lanes will be added as part of the project.

Plans for the project also show a large median replacing one of the turn lanes in the middle of the road between Graham Street and Merritt Mill Road.

Why are these improvements being made?

The work is being funded and completed by the N.C. Department of Transportation.

Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils said these pedestrian improvements have been in the works since approximately 2015. Seils said the main objective is to improve safety for pedestrians by improving the sidewalks in the corridor.

He added that the project was originally intended to be a traffic circle, but after consulting with the NCDOT, they decided that would not be possible.

“I think it’s a really great project. I think both towns are really excited about it. We’ve been working together on it for a few years now,” Seils said. “NCDOT has been really great about supporting us in this project.”

Neppalli said there were a number of concerns with the current organization of the intersection that made it difficult for vehicles and pedestrians to use.

“It’s confusing, it’s not connected properly, it’s a wide intersection, and also it’s a five light intersection. It’s not a regular four light intersection,” Neppalli said.

Will this affect traffic?

Neppalli did not expect there to be major traffic delays, but said there may be lane and sidewalk closures between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. while the work is being conducted, as well as some on-street parking being blocked. The majority of the work should be done within the next three weeks, he said.

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