The Estes Drive Connectivity Project is entering its next phase of construction, converting more of Estes Drive to one-way traffic.
The newest section becoming one-way is the portion of Estes Drive from Somerset Drive to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Transportation Planning Manager for Chapel Hill Bergen Watterson said the contractors must make this change to make room for their equipment on the otherwise too-narrow road.
“We've pushed it back as long as we've been able to, because I know that it's gonna cause some disruptions for many people,” she said.
Watterson also said the driving public is suffering because of the project, and it is causing sizeable detours for people. She said Chapel Hill does not have a very connected road network, and that Estes Drive is one of the only east-to-west thoroughfares through town.
“A lot of traffic is funneled on to Estes — if you want to go from one end of town to the other from east to west, and so when you take away one direction of that travel or one lane, it has a pretty significant impact,” she said.
Contractors will shut down part of the road and begin work this week. Watterson said the closures will last until the end of the project, which is projected for fall 2023. If possible, the Town will open any section of the road during this process, but she said they need to keep drivers and contractors safe during the construction process.
“We've given them warning, they've been knowing it's coming, we just finally got dates assured and we'll get that part finished up as fast as possible,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said.
The Estes Drive Connectivity Project includes the creation of a multi-use path and raised bike lanes, as well as enhanced crosswalks with warning lights.