WENDELL — Reconfiguring the Rolesville Road/Wendell Boulevard intersection may not be a popular idea with residents, but town administrators see it as an opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive.
Its better for the town to map out future roads than for a business to come in and define where the roads will go, said Wendell Town Manager Teresa Piner.
Six months ago at a meeting at East Wake High, a handful of residents expressed their disapproval for the reconfiguration.
Rynal Stephenson, with the engineering firm Ramey Kemp and Associates, provided sketches that included plans for news roads in the area. The main proposal calls for a realignment to the intersection at Rolesville Road and Wendell Boulevard, bringing the interchange closer to the town to the east.
Currently, Rolesville Road crosses the boulevard, with the road name changing to Eagle Rock. Eagle Rock Road then makes a sharp turn to the left and then turns back right, wrapping around the Southeastern Free Will Baptist College.
The new road design proposes closing off that intersection at both Rolesville Road and Eagle Rock. Drivers would still be able to access the State Employees Credit Union and Sheetz, but they would not be able to cross Wendell Boulevard at its current intersection.
After hearing the residents concerns, town officials, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the engineers went back to the drawing board.
Wendell Planning Director Zunilda Rodriguez said residents did not like the creation of so many new roads.
They wanted us to work with the existing roads as much as we could, Rodriguez said.
After a few months of tweaking the plans, two new designs were again presented at a meeting last month. The reception to the new plans was still lukewarm.
They really didnt like it any more or any less, said Piner, adding there were much more people at this meeting. And that is what we wanted. We want the community to have their input.
The new plans call for Rolesville Road, immediately after it crosses over U.S. 64, to bear off to the left and go between the State Employees Credit Union and Micro Measurements Group. One design includes constructing a bridge, and another includes a grade road.
We also narrowed the number of new roads that would be built, explained Rodriguez.
Rolesville Road would then connect to Eagle Rock at a more straight shot, taking out those sharp angles, Piner said.
Though any change is probably years away, it is definitely an area that needs attention, according to Piner. To begin with, the current intersection is a safety concern. With East Wake High nearby, there is a large number of inexperienced drivers who come through the interchange. Factor in speeding cars and you can have some pretty serious accidents.
An awkward traffic flow because of sharp turns is also an issue. With proper planning, Piner, that can prevent potential tracts from becoming land-locked and unable to be developed.
Of course, growth often brings growing pains, and you will never get a consensus, Rodriguez said. But we want to make sure the community is being heard, and they have been responsive.
The next step is for the town board to review the plans.