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Planning underway for Allen Road widening

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Heavy traffic at the intersection of Allen Road and Greenville Boulevard on April 6, 2017.


Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Planning is underway to widen a major north-south link between Greenville's medical district and Southwest Greenville Boulevard.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is looking to widen Allen Road, a 2.3-mile two-lane that runs from Stantonsburg Road to Dickinson Avenue Extension and Greenville Boulevard.

The plan is to widen it to a four-lane, median-divided roadway and is expected to cost $19.43 million, according to DOT. The public has until Monday to comment on the proposal. Details, including maps and a video visualization of the project, are available at https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/allenroadwidening/.

There are two alternatives for the widening, said Bill Kincannon, division project development engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The plan called Alternative 1 would widen it primarily to the east, with the right of way limits on the west side of the road remaining in place in most locations.

The Alternative 2 plan would widen it primarily to the west, with the right of way limits on the east side of the road remaining in place in most locations.

Alternative 1 has a smaller impact on existing homes and other structures, Kincannon said. Alternative 2 has more impact on existing buildings.

The project is scheduled to start in 2022, three years after the projected opening of the U.S. 264 Southwest Bypass which is being built to direct north-south traffic around Greenville.

"The Southwest Bypass is expected to take a large burden of traffic but will not totally eliminate growth or expanding needs within the city," Kincannon said. However, Allen Road needs widening because traffic is already at capacity and there is a lot of open space around the road's corridor that will allow for further growth, he said.

The transportation department held a public meeting last month to give property owners along the roadway an opportunity to review and comment on the two alternatives. About 50 people attended the meeting and about 30 attended another meeting with local officials.

The main concerns centered around accessing subdivisions and the intersection at Briarcliff Drive, where Lakeforest Elementary School is located.

Under the proposed design, vehicles won't be able to turn left onto Allen from Briarcliff. Traffic will have to turn right and travel farther down the road to make a left turn at an access point.

Traffic in and out of subdivisions also will have to use access points to make left turns to get them in a position to turn into their subdivision.

"This is something we will address through the design phase, since what is presented at this time is very preliminary concepts; not final or near final plans," said Kincannon.

Access points are in keeping with the concept of trying to reduce left turn crashes, he said.

Because the conceptual design isn't complete, the location of access points along the roadway are still reviewed.

No date has been announced for when the alternative design will be selected.

According to NCDOT's project schedule, an environmental study of the area should be completed in the fall. Right-of-way acquisition is set to begin in the winter of 2020 and construction will start in 2022.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.

Comments wanted

The public has until Monday to comment on a proposal to widen Allen Road to a a four-lane, median divided roadway. Details, including maps and a video visualization of the project, are available at https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/allenroadwidening/.

People who wish to comment should contact Susan Westberry, consultant project planner, at 910-550-3257; 5030 New Centre Drive, Suite B, Wilmington, NC 28403 or https://apps.ncdot.gov/ContactUS//PostComment.aspx?Unit=AllenRdWid.