Council approves plan for Portertown, Fire Tower improvements
By Brian Wudkwych
The Daily Reflector
Friday, November 10, 2017
The Greenville City Council on Thursday night approved the finalized version of a N.C. Department of Transportation plan to widen and improve Fire Tower and Portertown Roads.
Officials with the transportation department sought a resolution of support for the project, which will widen the roads to four lanes with a raised median from Charles Boulevard to 10th Street.
The project has been controversial with some residents, especially its proposal to eliminate left turns out of subdivisions and homes along the route. It also eliminates left turns at Fire Tower Road’s intersections with Charles and Arlington boulevards by rerouting traffic onto other streets.
Some residents affected by the eliminated turns voiced their concerns during the City Council meeting.
Council member Calvin Mercer echoed citizens’ concerns and pressed DOT representative William Kincannon, who presented the updates to the plan.
Kincannon said that although the left turns at some roads will be eliminated, residents will have to travel, at most, 1,000 feet to turn around.
Kincannon also said that Portertown Road will remain at 35 mph in the residential areas near Fire Tower Road. The original plan changed that section of the road to 45 mph, which one resident voiced concerns about at Thursday’s meeting.
“We made the entire project to accommodate a 45 mph speed limit,” Kincannon said. “We met. We discussed this, and the made the decision to sign it at 35 mph. It’s our recommendation to the city that this remains at 35 mph.”
Kincannon said the DOT also is open to putting up noise walls to limit the effect on citizens and businesses.
“We’re going to put up noise walls everywhere there is a need,” he said.
The plan includes installing two multi-lane roundabouts at Portertown and Eastern Pines roads and Portertown and Fire Tower, and new bridging at Hardee Creek. It includes bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
For funding purposes, the enterprise is made up of two projects: Project U-5785, which involves widening a 0.6-mile stretch of Fire Tower from Charles Boulevard to 14th Street and Project U-5870, which involves widening Fire Tower to Portertown Road then widening Portertown Road to 10th Street, a distance of 2.2 miles.
Kincannon said the plan could take from three to three-and-a-half years to complete. He estimated a late 2019 start date.
The project will reconfigure several major intersections to reduce congestion and traffic accidents on the roadways.
The approved resolution by the council came after multiple meetings. DOT officials met with concerned business and homeowners in the area when it proposed the final resolution.
Kincannon said the latest updates are designed to reduce the roadways effects on business owners and citizens.
“We’re continuing to work with homeowners and businesses to reduce the impacts, parcel by parcel,” he said. “So we’re not at a final point of design yet. This is an ongoing process and I imagine it will be an ongoing process for a little while.”
Contact Brian Wudkwych at email@example.com or 252-329-9567 and follow @brianwudkwych on Twitter.