The N.C. Department of Transportation has announced plans to improve two bridges in Wake Forest, one on Rogers Road and another on Forestville Road.
As part of the town’s Capital Improvements Plan – a five-year, $88 million plan for physical and economic developments that starts this year – the bridges will be rebuilt to include pedestrian underpasses that extend the town’s greenway system at an estimated cost of $350,000 each.
The Rogers Road bridge will be widened from two lanes so it could eventually be expanded to five lanes, and the total cost for that bridge is expected to be about $1.4 million.
The town and state will share the cost. The goal is to complete the projects in 2014.
Candace Davis, a senior planner for the town, said both bridges have long been functionally obsolete, meaning they were not designed to support the current level of traffic.
“Now is the time to go ahead and start working,” Davis said. “It could be another 15 years before the funding comes up again.”
Town officials and state transportation leaders are working together to figure out the best way to complete the project.
Among the questions they will consider is whether it would be better to close the Rogers Road bridge and detour traffic during construction, or to find a way for the bridge to remain open. The former would be quicker and cheaper, but the latter could ease traffic for people commuting to and from nearby businesses, homes and schools along the heavily-trafficked road.
Brandon Jones, a highway engineer for the state, said the contract is structured in a way that gives the construction company flexibility in designing and building the bridges.
But Jones said one thing is sure: “We can’t have both bridges closed down at the same time,” he said.
There will be an opportunity for public feedback at future meetings. No date has been set.
Two other bridges, one on Purnell Road and another on West Oak Avenue, are also scheduled be replaced as part of the town’s planned transportation projects.