Knightdale to improve sidewalks along Smithfield Road

mhankerson@newsobserver.comDecember 2, 2013 

— Sidewalk improvements on Smithfield Road are moving along, according to an update presented at Knightdale’s Town Council last week.

Improvements to the east side of Smithfield Road have been broken into multiple parts to help the town fund the work. Originally, the town applied for a Safe Routes to School grant because of the street’s proximity to Lockhart Elementary, town engineer Fred Boone said.

“We didn’t get (the grant), it was highly competitive,” he said. “(So the town) split the project into three other ones to do it with other grants.”

The town has plans to complete a continuous sidewalk on the east side of Smithfield Road with a pedestrian crossing signal at the intersection at Knightdale Boulevard.

Providing the crossing signal is a key part of the town’s pedestrian plan that identifies it as a “critical pedestrian need,” Boone said.

That project will likely be finished in late 2014. Currently, the project has been awarded to a contractor, which means the effort is in an administrative stage to make sure the contracting company has the appropriate paperwork to continue.

For this particular project, Wake County is handling the project on Knightdale’s behalf, so the county is communicating with the contractor.

“It’s all being handled by Wake County, then they will give (the contractor) notice to proceed,” Boone said.

Farther down Smithfield Road, the town plans to build a sidewalk from Berkshire Park Apartments to Edenburgh’s Keep Drive, a project that’s meant to be complete by next summer.

The town has requested construction authorization from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which will check to make sure all permits, design and other planning documents are in place.

The project is funded by federal grant money and requires the town get NCDOT’s permission and involvement. An exact start date has not been established but Boone said the town is trying to time the work with Lockhart Elementary’s trackout.

The sidewalk projects help fulfill the town’s green iniative, Boone said.

“It encourages citizens to get out and walk (and) hopefully cutting down on vehicle trips,” he said.

In addition to sidewalk projects along Smithfield Road, the road itself will also be improved.

The town is rebuilding a section of Smithfield Road from Knightdale Boulevard to McKnight Drive. There will also be a dedicated right turn lane onto Knightdale Boulevard.

The road improvements are scheduled to be complete in summer 2014.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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