The North Carolina Department of Transportation is undertaking a street resurfacing and redesigning project in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
The project, led by The North Carolina Department of Transportation, includes repaving and repainting parts of West Franklin Street, East Main Street and West Rosemary Street in both Chapel Hill and Carrboro. To avoid daytime traffic, NCDOT has been working during the night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
In Chapel Hill, Franklin Street will be reduced to two lanes of traffic but will have new bike lanes, according to Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger. She said one reason for this redesign is to improve road safety downtown by slowing cars and protecting pedestrians and cyclists.
Unlike traditional bike lanes that are exposed to traffic, the added bike lanes on Franklin Street will run between parked cars and the curb.
Sarah Poulton, senior project manager for the Town of Chapel Hill, said she hopes the bike lanes make Franklin Street more appealing for people using a variety of transportation methods.
“In addition to benefiting cyclists by adding a bike lane, you also reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians at intersections," Poulton said.
In Carrboro, NCDOT will add a bike lane along E. Main Street, as well as two center turn lanes.
Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said the Town of Carrboro used the resurfacing as a chance to rethink the design of Main Street. He also said he believes the project will make pedestrians, cyclists and drivers more comfortable navigating downtown Carrboro.
“It’s really exciting for Carrboro and for Chapel Hill,” Seils said. “It’s going to be transformative for our downtown, especially for Carrboro, where it’s going to turn what was a four-lane roadway with no bike lanes, no center turn lane or anything into a much more urban streetscape.”