The Chapel Hill Town Council met Monday to discuss the award contract for the improvement of the intersection of Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard.
The construction is part of Phase I of the Roadway Improvements Project, which aims to improve mobility and safety at the intersection.
Chad Beck, project engineer for Kimley-Horn and Associates, explained to the council that the intersection currently causes conflicts among cars, bikes and pedestrians.
Beck said the project will be funded by the Town of Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“This project would allow us to reduce the traffic in the intersection,” Beck said. “It would also improve the sidewalks for bikes and pedestrians, provide higher visibility and reduced conflict points.”
The qualified low bid for the project will cost $1,626,760, but the town is eligible for reimbursement from the NCDOT for up to $2.17 million in construction costs.
Council member Donna Bell said she is concerned the intersection of Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard is a fast-moving intersection for pedestrians.
“Even though they are not part of the original project, it is necessary to incorporate proper signalization for the pedestrians to be able to cross in time," Bell said.
Council member Maria Palmer said it is necessary to keep in mind that the Roadway Improvement Project is an ongoing process, and that the roads and sidewalks of the area need to be prepared for future development.
The council approved the project unanimously, and agreed to review and approve Phase II designs in the future. Construction on the intersection is expected to commence in March.
During the meeting, the council also approved the lending proposal and finance documents for Ephesus Fordham/Town Hall Combined Financing, which is cheaper and more efficient.
The Planning and Sustainability Commission recommended the council to give final approval to the town’s 2016 installment financing, which includes elements such as renovation of three Town Hall floors.
The motion was approved unanimously.
“Now some sidewalks might seem like roads to nowhere, but we need to think about the future,” Palmer said.
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