DURHAM – Thanks to an N.C. Department of Transportation contract, a Durham intersection is being converted to a roundabout, and some nearby drainage pipes will be replaced.
Starting Monday, March 4, contractors will begin building a roundabout at the intersection of University Drive and Hope Valley Road. The conversion is expected to improve traffic flow along both roads.
Roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections because motorists slow down going through them, and the design eliminates the stop-and-go nature of stop signs or traffic lights. According to a report last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, these kind of intersection improvements reduce overall fatalities and serious-injury collisions by almost 30 percent.
Average daily traffic on Hope Valley Road at this intersection sees nearly 11,500 vehicles per day. That number is expected to increase by at least 1,000 vehicles per day within the next 20 years, and the roundabout is expected to keep traffic moving through this intersection more efficiently.
The roundabout installation will require a long-term road closure until work has progressed enough to safely open to traffic. To travel around the worksite, motorists will be detoured using Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Old Chapel Hill Road, Academy Road, and Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard.
Except for work related to vegetation re-establishment, contractors will have until Nov. 1 to complete the roundabout work and reopen the intersection for normal traffic patterns.
The project will also include drainage pipe replacements at James Street and University Drive. Currently there are two 42-inch pipes that carry an upper tributary of Third Fork Creek under University Drive near James Street. In its place, the Department will install a 112-inch by 75-inch pipe to increase drainage capacity under the roadway.
The project will complement other drainage infrastructure improvements that have been proposed for the sections of the tributary, which flow on City of Durham or private property. Those drainage improvements are the responsibility of the respective property owners.
The contractor can start the pipe replacement anytime between April 15 and Aug. 1, and will have 90 days to complete the work.
While access to all residences and businesses within the drainage pipe project limits will be maintained, there will be a detour using Academy Road and Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard.
For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow the NCDOT Triangle Twitter feed.