Staff photo by Allison Potter
A project funded by the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Town of Wrightsville Beach and the Wrightsville Beach Foundation is expected to improve traffic flow and bicycle and pedestrian safety in the downtown area.
The intersection in downtown Wrightsville Beach will receive a transformation, expected to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety while easing traffic flow leaving town, following grant approval.
The Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee unanimously approved Feb. 6, to allocate $233,600 in funds for the intersection improvements to Causeway Drive and Waynick Boulevard.
The Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen approved a resolution for the intersection improvements grant application in October 2013.
The project will create dual left-turn lanes from Waynick Boulevard onto Causeway Drive, along with additional improvements to Lumina Avenue and Stone Street.
Four crashes were reported from June 30, 2008, through June 30, 2013, on Lumina Avenue between Waynick Boulevard and Stone Street.
The project will cost an estimated total of $292,000, and will include improving lane markings to reduce wrong-way movements, adjusting stop bar locations to improve turning radii and straightening crosswalks.
The Wrightsville Beach Foundation pledged to donate $20,000 for the town’s match of $58,400 for the project. There could also be additional water and sewer infrastructure costs, estimated at $100,000.
The town’s match would come from the general fund or from the 2014-15 budget, and any additional water and sewer improvements would come from the water and sewer fund.
“We get about $3 million annually to put toward these type of projects within our MPO,” said Mike Kozlosky, WMPO executive director, about the Surface Transportation Program Direct Attributable funding.
The WMPO represents seven municipalities in three counties, serving 494 square miles.
“It was the only intersection improvement we received in the 2014 call for projects,” Kozlosky said about the eight requests received for 2014. “We can’t really provide a comparative analysis of how it’s scored versus the other projects, because there’s different criteria for an intersection improvement as opposed to some bicycle and pedestrian improvements.”
Intersections make up 15 percent of current committee modal target investment strategies compared to 50 percent for bicycle and pedestrian safety.
Kozlosky said some of the project improvements go along with the Wrightsville Beach Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
“Based on my understanding, it would be awesome,” said Alderman Hank Miller III, the BOA’s new representative on the TAC. “We’ve got some safety concerns there obviously with the pedestrian crossing. … We’ve just got to find the money to complete the project.”
Town manager Tim Owens said he would have to receive input from the board and see where they want to take the project, finding out if board members want to extend the project beyond the intersection to make it part of a larger project.
The next step is for the WMPO to work with the town creating a municipal agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“Then, there will be a letter of interest that is advertised where potential engineering firms would solicit proposals to design the project. Once the design is complete then it would move forward toward construction,” Kozlosky said. “We are working to establish a timeline for this project as well as all other projects that were funded in the last funding cycle.”