Jamestown Bypass delay delights many in town

Sep. 22, 2013 @ 03:00 PM

Usually if the mayor of a town is discussing a local, major road project that’s at least a decade from starting, there’s a pang of regret in his voice.
But when Mayor Keith Volz talks about the long-planned Jamestown Bypass around the southern part of his community, he doesn’t mind at all that construction is far off in the future.
“The current thinking (of town leaders) is that we’re sort of happy that the money for this is still very scarce. If it’s going to be inevitable, we might as well push it out as far as we can,” Volz said. 
For years, Jamestown officials and many business leaders have objected to plans for the bypass that would hook south around the center of the town sandwiched between High Point and Greensboro. Jamestown residents worry that the bypass will divert traffic from the heart of the community just as Jamestown is adding dining and entertainment venues along the Main Street corridor.
In the heart of Jamestown, restaurants and other destinations have sprouted in the past two years, Volz said.
“That’s what we were hoping would happen. We worried that the bypass would miss it,” the mayor said.
In the past, Jamestown residents who would be in the path of the bypass have expressed concern about losing their land to condemnation to make way for the highway.
Funding on the state transportation program for construction of the Jamestown Bypass isn’t scheduled now and wouldn’t take place until next decade, said Mike Mills, division engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation out of Greensboro. Under current state transportation plans, funding wouldn’t be in place any earlier than the year 2023. The estimated cost for the 3-mile section of bypass is $48 million to $50 million.
While no money is dedicated for construction of the bypass, the DOT does have funding to buy right-of-way for the road, which will be a four-lane divided highway.
“We are buying right-of-way when people call in requesting it to be purchased,” Mills told The High Point Enterprise.
If the bypass is constructed, the existing, two-lane Greensboro Road in east High Point, which becomes Main Street in Jamestown, would remain in place, Mills said. Also, Greensboro Road would continue across U.S. 311 where it changes names at Five Points and becomes Lexington Avenue.
The existing road would tie into the Jamestown Bypass at U.S. 311 through an intersection, Mills said. Traveling east on Lexington Avenue and Greensboro Road, the bypass would turn off to the right as a motorist crosses U.S. 311.
Last month, the city of Greensboro held public hearings about possibly renaming its part of the road, now called High Point Road and Lee Street, to the single name of Gate City Boulevard. However, Greensboro only has the authority to rename the road in its municipal city limit.
At the public hearings last month, residents of the Jamestown-High Point area said they don’t want the name of existing Main Street and Greensboro Road changed as part of the future completion of the bypass. Mills said that it’s doubtful the names of the existing two-lane road through east High Point and Jamestown would change, though it remains to be determined what the bypass would be called around Jamestown into High Point.

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