Skeet Club widening delayed
State transportation officials say it will be next spring at the earliest before a long-delayed road improvement project gets underway in north High Point.
The N.C. Department of Transportation had planned to award a contract in August for the widening of Skeet Club Road from Johnson Street to Eastchester Drive. This now isn’t slated to happen until April 2014, however, because workers need time to relocate a gas line in the project’s path near Oak Hollow Lake, said Patty Eason, a division construction engineer for NCDOT who is overseeing the project.
The 6.3-mile road will be widened from two to four lanes with a median and curb and gutter and sidewalks on both sides.
The widening will be done in two phases. The original plan was to widen the stretch from N. Main Street to Johnson Street first. This phase originally was scheduled for construction in 2008, but, since then, the other portion of the project was sped up because of the need to address traffic congestion spurred by rapid residential development in the area over the years.
The N. Main Street to Johnson Street segment currently is unfunded and unscheduled in the NCDOT’s long-range plans.
Construction of the Eastchester Drive to Johnson Street stretch, which has been delayed numerous times by a variety of issues, is estimated to cost $31.8 million.
In addition to relieving congestion, officials said other goals of the project are to enhance safety by straightening out curves in the existing road and to reduce rear-end traffic collisions by adding left-turn lanes.
“We think it’s a good project for the area, a needed project for the area,” Eason said.
Skeet Club was essentially a rural, “farm-to-market” road until the city ran water and sewer lines into the area decades ago, which opened it up for rapid residential development, said David Hyder, transportation planning administrator for the city of High Point. Hyder said traffic problems — especially around the road’s intersection with Eastchester Drive and Wendover Avenue during rush hour — are self-evident.
“In a lot of respects, it’s an easy sell,” he said. “You see the problems out there.”
NCDOT has secured about 95 percent of the right of way needed for the widening, including the front portions of several residential and business properties, as well as some homes that were condemned and demolished.
Utility relocation work should start soon, and, if a contract is awarded in April, construction could start in May. Both lanes of the road will remain open throughout the widening, which should take about two years to complete. Motorists, business owners and residents in the area should expect some inconveniences.
“I would think any time you have large equipment working out of the travel lane on the shoulder, lots of orange barrels on the side and construction workers out there, people are just going to naturally slow down,” Eason said. “So, I still think there will be some delays even without lane closures, just for those reasons.”