Ahoskie Council supports roundabout

Published 10:01 am Friday, June 16, 2023

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AHOSKIE – Plans to change the flow of traffic at Ahoskie’s busiest intersection has received the blessing of the town council.

At their meeting here Tuesday evening, the council unanimously approved a resolution in support of NC DOT’s plans to replace the traffic signal with a roundabout at the intersection of Memorial Drive and Academy Street. That intersection handles approximately 13,500 vehicles per day.

The roundabout is part of a larger project that includes replacing the railroad bridge, which is classified as functionally obsolete (constructed in 1938). The $16.4 million project is also designed to provide accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians by widening the travel lanes to 14 feet. There will also be new sidewalks installed.

In February of this year, the Ahoskie Council opposed the portion of the plan involving the roundabout, and asked NCDOT engineers to make changes to its design.

At their May 9 meeting, council members were advised of changes to the roundabout’s design as well as other items of concern along the project’s route. Those changes included dropping the number of residential relocations (on the east side of the railroad bridge) from 10 to zero. Additionally, NCDOT resolved an issue with the residents on the west side of the bridge who would be prevented from turning left onto Memorial Drive from their driveways due to a concrete island, and also addressed drainage issues on the east side of the bridge.

The resolution approved by the town council this week reflects their satisfaction with the changes implemented by NCDOT.

“NCDOT has tried to meet every request that we’ve had,” stated Councilman David Hunt. “They even made changes in this project based on what some of our citizens asked. For those reasons, and for their willingness to spend 16.4 million dollars in our town, I make the motion to accept this resolution and that we support them with this roundabout.”

Hunt stressed that NCDOT didn’t have to have the support of the council for this project.

“It’s their highway,” Hunt noted of the US 13, NC 42 intersection in front of ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital. “Regardless of what we decide, NCDOT can move forward with or without our support.”

Councilman Roy Sharpe offered a second to Hunt’s motion, which was approved by a 5-0 vote.

According to the project’s timeline, right-of-way acquisition is scheduled for July of this year with construction slated to begin in June 2025.

Earlier, NCDOT officials confirmed that the new bridge will be built adjacent to the existing one, which will keep Memorial Drive open during that construction.

It is not known if construction of the roundabout will impede traffic at the Memorial Drive / Academy Street intersection.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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