Sunday, February 25, 2024

Engineer’s report: Traffic delays could increase 186 percent; no major changes to plans needed

A little under one year after the new development was first proposed, the traffic study has been made available.

An artist's rendition of the 1-million-square-foot, $250 million CenterPoint mixed-use project on Eastwood and Military Cutoff roads. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY OF SWAIN & ASSOCIATES)
An artist’s rendition of the 1-million-square-foot, $250 million CenterPoint mixed-use project on Eastwood and Military Cutoff roads. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY OF SWAIN & ASSOCIATES)

WILMINGTON — It has been almost one year since conceptual plans for the 23-acre development known as “CenterPoint” were submitted to the City of Wilmington, now, a traffic impact analysis draft has been completed.

CenterPoint is a proposed mixed-use development that would be located along both Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff Road – it is just one of several recently proposed developments for the Military Cutoff Corridor.

Despite traffic concerns from residents and poor level of service scores from engineers and North Carolina Department of Transportation, the region continues to attract major development plans.

(Learn more about what goes into understanding the level of service grading system)

“When one refers to level of service, it is often in relation to roadway capacities. A Traffic Impact Study is generally performed to determine a level of service,” Brian Rick, communications officer for NCDOT said in a 2017 interview with Port City Daily. “During project development by public or private entities, the traffic analysis is performed to determine pre/post level of service on the roadways affected. The level of service is used to determine potential roadway improvements as not to degraded capacities by the development.”

The CenterPoint traffic study

CenterPoint would consist of a seven-story hotel, apartments, retail and office space, and a medical services building, according to submitted plans.

Traffic at the intersection of Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road is heavy, in fact, the NCDOT has bestowed upon it an ‘F’ level of service. NCDOT also has plans for a bypass to help improve the flow of traffic at the intersection, but construction on that project is not scheduled to be open until 2024.

The CenterPoint traffic impact study was completed by HDR Engineering Inc., which submitted its draft to the city on March 30.

According to the documents, “The purpose of this analysis is to better understand the potential impacts of the proposed adjacent site development on the preferred alternative configuration and to compare the quality of traffic operations in the following scenarios …”

The study looked at the impact of the development on several intersections in the area.

(Coming to Military Cutoff Road: 2 grocery stores, 2 hotels and more than 1,200 apartments)

According to the results, during peak hours Monday – Friday from 4-6 p.m., the development would generate a total of 947 new trips. On Saturday, that number would increase to 1,968 during the peak hour.

Despite proposed traffic improvements from the developer, traffic delays are expected to increase significantly if constructed, but the installation of a traffic signal could help keep the level of service operating at a ‘C’ range, according to HDR’s analysis.

“In Build scenarios, a significant increase in side-street delays was observed at Eastwood Road at Cavalier Drive,” the report states. “Exiting traffic from CenterPoint is likely to increase delays, primarily on the southbound approach, by 186 percent. A proposed traffic signal here would keep intersection delays within the (level of service) C range through 2035.”

Traffic degradation is acknowledged in the analysis and credited to the CenterPoint development, but according to HDR, these impacts are not significant enough to warrant a major change to the development’s plans.

“Generally, the peak hour trips generated by the proposed CenterPoint development do contribute to degrading traffic operations at intersections with the proposed (traffic improvement plan) in the future-year scenarios, but not to an extent that would necessitate major improvements and subsequent revisions to the configuration design plans,” according to HDR’s traffic impact study.

CenterPoint TIA 201803301 by Michael James on Scribd

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