PEMBROKE – A major reconstruction of the main gateway to the UNC Pembroke campus is open to traffic and pedestrians.
The N.C. Department of Transportation spent $5 million overhauling a mile of North Odom Street/Prospect Road off West Third Street, after breaking ground on the project in the spring of 2018.
The improvements make the roadway safer and more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. A median, two roundabouts and sidewalks were built. Bike lanes and 12 crosswalks were marked to boost safety. The roundabouts improve safety by slowing traffic, and providing a U-turn location. This NCDOT video explains how to navigate a roundabout.
The new median replaced an open center turn lane, providing a refuge for pedestrians when crossing the roadway. The median also redirects drivers from the side streets or driveways into turning right when it’s safe to do so. The improvements were in step with a departmental goal to promote multimodal uses of travel.
The department proposed the design after university officials raised concerns with the agency over the safety of the students crossing it every day.
“With so many of our students, faculty and staff crossing Prospect Road throughout the day, this was a much-needed project on our campus,” said University Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings. “We are so thankful to the Department of Transportation for their efforts to help us increase the safety on our campus as we accommodate and continue the growth we are experiencing.”
Permanent traffic signs, which replaced temporary ones, were mounted last week. The orange drums will be removed within a few weeks after a few remaining touchup items are completed. Trees, shrubs and other landscaping will be planted along the medians under a separate contract NCDOT will award later.
“This is a wonderful example of how we collaborated with our partners to solve a traffic and safety problem and improved an important gateway for a growing university,” said Grady Hunt, a Robeson County resident who represents the region on the N.C. Board of Transportation.