High Hazard Elimination Fund to be used for intersection improvements
The Town of Stallings is getting federal funding to improve the intersection of Potter and Pleasant Plains roads, according to NC DOT and town officials. High Hazard Elimination Funds are part of a federal program to provide states with money to improve road safety.
“The project for the Potter Road and Pleasant Plains Road intersection is already funded and scheduled to begin in 2012 with construction completed in 2013,” said Pate Butler, regional traffic engineer for the NC Department of Transportation. According to Butler, the project is currently slated to add left turn lanes to the approaches to the intersection to address safety. She said the project is projected to cost $907,500 with $825,000 coming from High Hazard Elimination Funds.
Butler said there are two types of federal funding that address road safety and many people get them confused.
“Spot Safety Funds are for smaller ‘spots’ and projects have a limit of $250,000 and must be re-scheduled each year,” she said.
“High Hazard Elimination Funds, on the other hand,” Pate said, “also are used to address road safety, but they can be used to fund larger projects costing $1 to 2 million, and do not need to be rescheduled each year.”
Both of these funds address safety, such as crash reduction, and are not used primarily to reduce congestion Butler said. “Which fund we choose is all a matter of getting the best bang for the buck.”
“This project is important to us because it is part of our larger master development plan,” Lynda Paxton, Stallings Mayor Lynda Paxton said. “For this project the main thing is to improve traffic flow.”
Paxton said NCDOT is addressing the intersection through the federal funding that is separate from the regional transportation authority, the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization. Paxton serves as vice chairman for the organization.
Paxton said a roundabout was proposed to help fix the intersection, but traffic data looks like it won’t be feasible for a single lane roundabout with current traffic. However, other improvements, such as the widening of Monroe Road and the McKee Road Extension, will help alleviate traffic and could make a roundabout feasible.
“Kimley-Horn (and Associates, Inc.), the consulting firm for the Stallings master development plan, has promised to do additional traffic analysis to explore this option,” Paxton said.
Butler acknowledged that the additional study by Kimley-Horn could change the scope of the project from turn lanes to a roundabout. She said the intersection may support a roundabout with multiple lanes.
Paxton said the property along Potter and Pleasant Plains roads plays a key role as a future downtown area for Stallings in the master plan. “We’d like to see a developer make improvements to some of the larger parcels,” she said. This would eventually bring in businesses and a town center to the area.