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Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Construction
  • County: Orange
  • Type of Project: Multi-modal Corridor Upgrade
  • STIP Number: U-0624
  • Completion Date: April 2015
  • Estimated Cost: $4.6 million
  • Project Team: Triangle Grading and Paving Inc.
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South Columbia Street Widening


This multi-modal project will widen and enhance a section of N.C. 86/South Columbia Street in Chapel Hill from Purefoy Road to Manning Drive. The 0.8-mile section of N.C. 86/South Columbia Street is being widened to include a center turn lane and bus pullouts, improving safety and the flow of traffic in the area. Sidewalks and bike lanes are being added to both sides of the road, improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and maintaining the character of Chapel Hill.

Latest News and Updates

The project was open to traffic October 29, 2014.
Motorists in the area were most significantly impacted from mid-May through mid-August 2013, when traffic was one-way on South Columbia Street, with traffic going northbound from Fordham Boulevard toward Manning Drive. Outbound traffic was detoured onto Manning Drive.
The $4.6 million contract was awarded in October 2012 to Triangle Grading & Paving Inc. of Burlington. Work on the project began in November 2012.

News Releases

  • Currently, no recent news releases.

Project Background and Purpose

Lined by residential neighborhoods and businesses, South Columbia is a prime thoroughfare for students, patients, commuters, ambulances and transit buses. It connects UNC Hospitals with Fordham Boulevard, which serves as the N.C. 54 and U.S. 15-501 bypass.

The Town of Chapel Hill identified South Columbia Street as a top priority for NCDOT funding in 1997. Since then, Chapel Hill residents and officials representing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have sought multi-modal improvements to the busy roadway. NCDOT worked at length with the town and other agencies to plan an enhancement project that preserves the character of the town and to mitigate the significant impact of the project on the community.

Project Highlights

  • A center turn lane will be added to relieve the frequent backups caused by motorists waiting to turn left onto a side street.
  • Bus pullouts will be constructed to allow transit buses to pick up and drop off passengers at designated bus stops without impeding the flow of traffic.
  • Five-foot-wide sidewalks will be constructed on both sides of the road.
  • Bike lanes will also be added. They will be five feet wide in the westbound direction and four feet wide in the eastbound direction.

Contact Information

Chris Kirkman, P.E.
NCDOT Division 7 Resident Engineer

Resources for Local Property Owners

In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.