DOT: Road work near UNCP to aid safety

By: Staff report

PEMBROKE — Officials with the North Carolina Department of Transportation say a planned reconstruction of North Odum Street/Prospect Road will lead to an increase in safety.

The road, which runs parallel to the eastern side of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s campus, is set to undergo a complete transformation that includes reducing the number of lanes and the installation of bike lanes, two roundabouts and a median.

The project will begin in April and is scheduled to continue for two years, with a target date of completion in spring 2020. Construction will take place between West Third Street and a point just north of Cornith Street.

“This project will make the road much safer for pedestrians and bicyclists,” Janet Whetstone-Perez, the Sandhills regional traffic safety engineer for the Transporation Department, said in a statement. “People will have fewer lanes to cross, and the median will provide a refuge for pedestrians. The roundabouts also will improve traffic flow and safety.”

The roundabouts will be located at the campus’s University Drive entrance, and at Prospect Road and Cornith Street.

The road passes by several campus landmarks, such as Givens Performing Arts Center and the future site of the university’s new School of Business. It also separates the campus from The View at Pembroke, a student housing complex.

BMCO Construction Inc. of Lumberton has been awarded a $5 million contract by the Transportation Department to do the work.

Occasional lane closures can be expected as the project progresses.

“We are grateful to state leaders and the Department of Transportation for this investment in UNC Pembroke and our community,” Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings said. “Most importantly, the project will improve safety, which is the university’s top priority. It will also enhance the first impression of our campus and accommodate growth that will result from UNCP’s inclusion in the NC Promise Tuition Plan.”

The project is part of a plan introduced by the Transportation Department in 2009 to consider multiple methods of transportation when designing road infrastructures. Department officials say the aim is to increase connectivity, safety and sustainability in communities across the state by following the plan.

Staff report