LUMBERTON – A prominent corridor in downtown Lumberton will be improved with roundabouts, crosswalks, pedestrian signals and raised medians after the N.C. Department of Transportation recently won an $8.6 million federal grant.
The NCDOT applied for the grant after identifying the need for several pedestrian safety improvements along two miles of N.C. 72, which is 2nd Street, between N.C. 41 (MLK Jr. Drive) and N.C. 211 (Roberts Avenue). The money comes from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The department's state traffic engineer, Brian Mayhew, said the improvements will better connect residents who lack reliable transportation in a historic section of Lumberton to jobs, schools, grocery stores, clinics and churches.
“This project will reduce speeds for motorists and increase the visibility of pedestrians, making it a complete street and improving safety for everyone who uses it," Mayhew said.
The project also supports the efforts of the Robeson County Vision Zero task force, which began in 2018 with several local officials committed to reducing the number of traffic deaths in the county. The group is led by Grady Hunt, a Robeson County representative on the N.C. Board of Transportation.
“We are grateful to receive this kind of support from our federal partners to help improve transportation for this underserved community in Lumberton," Hunt said.
Local officials have rallied around the project, too. In February, the Lumberton City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the grant.
“We are absolutely delighted that our historic downtown will receive this 'shot in the arm' which it desperately needs," Lumberton Mayor Bruce Davis said. “I would like to personally thank NCDOT for their efforts in preparing the RAISE grant application and securing the funding for this much-needed project along 2nd Street. I know that the transformation of this vital corridor will be the catalyst needed to spur further revitalization of downtown Lumberton."
The NCDOT will combine the $8.6 million federal grant with funding from other NCDOT sources for an estimated total project cost of $11 million.
Now that the department has received the grant, Mayhew said officials can begin designing and planning the project and establishing a construction timeline. The department will schedule a public meeting once the initial designs are complete.