Traffic

2-lane, crash-heavy highway to see some changes. Find out this week what's planned.

Among the recommendations of the N.C. 98 Corridor Study is a new left-turn lane onto Camp Kanata Road near Wake Forest.
Among the recommendations of the N.C. 98 Corridor Study is a new left-turn lane onto Camp Kanata Road near Wake Forest. rstradling@newsobserver.com

People who use N.C. 98 in Durham and northern Wake counties will have a chance to see proposed improvements to the road at a couple of workshops in the coming week.

There, for the first time, they'll get to see conceptual designs of N.C. 98 widened to four lanes, as well as smaller changes such as new turn lanes and medians. The proposals are the results of a study of the highway that began with two public meetings in March 2017.

“If you want to know what the road will look like in front of your house or near property you own, this will be your opportunity to see that," said Will Letchworth, an engineer with WSP, the firm conducting the study.

The study was commissioned by the Durham and Wake transportation planning groups – the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization – and the state Department of Transportation. The three organizations and local governments will refer to the study as they plan future changes to the road.

N.C. 98 is a two-lane road for most of its 27-mile route between U.S. 70 in Durham and U.S. 401 in Franklin, and traffic engineers say it is approaching or has exceeded its capacity. At the same time, the western section in Durham has seen a relatively high number of crashes, many involving pedestrians or cyclists.

The state plans to widen N.C. 98 to four lanes between Sherron Road in Durham and the bypass on the west side of Wake Forest, but not anytime soon. Letchworth said several smaller changes could address congestion problems sooner, including new turn lanes at Camp Kanata Road and new and longer turn lanes at Six Forks/New Light roads.

All of the ideas will be presented at the two meetings and on the study’s website, www.nc98corridor.com. The meetings will take place Thursday, April 12, at Wake Forest College Birthplace, 450 N. Main St. in Wake Forest, and Monday, April 16, in the Durham East Regional Library, 211 Lick Creek Lane. Both meetings will run from 5 to 7 p.m.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling
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