Road construction on the east side of town heralds the start of Wake Forests newest neighborhood as well as a convenient new shortcut to avoid downtown traffic.
Crews are building a new street called Traditions Grande Boulevard. When it opens to traffic in a few months, it will connect the N.C. 98 Bypass at Wait Avenue and Jones Dairy Road north to Juniper Avenue and Gilcrest Farm Road.
The road project is funded by JPM South Development, and its primary purpose is an access road for the firms 700-home Traditions subdivision.
But the road comes with benefits to other Wake Forest drivers too. Residents on the south and east end of town can use Traditions Grande Boulevard as a quick back road into Franklin County and Youngsville. A new alignment at Juniper Avenue means it turns into Gilcrest Farm Road, which comes out on North White Street at the Franklin line.
It gives you an easier avenue than having to go through the downtown area, said Wake Forest planner Chad Sary.
As construction progresses, Juniper Avenue is closed at its intersection with the new road. When it reopens, drivers will have a new traffic pattern. Where Juniper Avenue now becomes Oak Grove Church Road, each of those roads will have intersections with the new street. The Oak Grove Church intersection will eventually form a traffic circle with the rest of the towns proposed North Loop.
The rest of the loop connecting to Harris Road and Capital Boulevard is still years away. Its going to be a difficult task because theres a railroad crossing involved, Sary said. I dont know what the timeline would be.
But the first phase of the Traditions neighborhood is just around the corner. Developer John Myers said hell have 127 homesites ready to go in the next month, with homebuilders breaking ground in early 2013.
The first phase calls for single-family homes priced between $250,000 and $450,000. Townhomes will be added later, Myers said.
We think the timing is good, Myers said, noting that the nearby Heritage community is building its last phases now. Were coming out of the ground at a time when the housing market continues to improve.
Traditions has been planned for years, with construction dates getting pushed back because of the economy. Heritage developer Andy Ammons owned the land first but sold much of it to JPM South. Ammons will develop a later phase of Traditions.
Myers said he plans to build walking trails and pocket parks as well as a clubhouse and swimming pool. The (Wake Forest) Reservoir proximity coupled with 30 percent open space creates a wonderful natural environment, he said.