LELAND — A proposed traffic signal project in Brunswick Forest is being put off until next year.
The project would signalize the intersection of Brunswick Forest Parkway and Low County Boulevard, an area about which Leland residents continue to express safety concerns.
Bids on the project opened in May and just one was received. At $1,055,369, the project’s cost came in higher than expectations.
A new traffic light
This year, the Mallory Creek patching and stormwater project was prioritized above the Brunswick Forest project. That’s due to the high cost of road projects, limited availability of transportation project funding, and Mallory Creek’s poor road conditions.
Scope of work for the Brunswick Forest project includes adding new turn and acceleration lanes, installing 9,100 square feet of new pavement and demolishing 2,400 square feet of existing pavement. A new pedestrian sanctuary island would be installed, including handicap ramps, signage, underground utilities, and 1,700 linear feet of new curb and gutter.
“We are kind of back to the drawing board on that,” Kent Jackson, Leland’s new Director of Public Utilities, said Thursday at a Transportation Oversight Committee meeting.
The project will be put out to bid in December or early 2020, Jackson said. Before then, staff will work to determine what factors led to receiving such a high bid.
Arlene Holmes, Transportation Oversight Committee board member said visibility for drivers attempting a left-hand turn into Low Country Boulevard is limited. “It’s an accident waiting to happen,” she said.
Safety, travel concerns
For months, board members from various Leland committees have shared concerns regarding traffic safety in Brunswick Forest. Lowering the speed limit on Brunswick Forest Parkway — the development’s main thoroughfare — has been discussed. In May, Leland Police Chief Mike James said he sat for hours in an unmarked vehicle conducting an impromptu radar experiment in the area.
On Brunswick Forest Parkway, Chief James said his afternoon weekday test revealed work trucks were traveling at an average speed of 25 mph; cars traveled at 30 to 35 mph.
“In radar school, they always taught us not to try to estimate speed on big vehicles because they always look like they’re going faster than they actually are,” James said at a May Public Safety Committee meeting. “I’m not saying speeding is not occurring out there — I don’t think it’s occurring on a regular basis for the number of complaints that we’ve got coming in.”
At the meeting, Public Safety Committee board member Suzanne Palmer said transportation issues in Brunswick Forest amount to more than speeding. “We’re sharing the road. And the perception –the complaints that I hear from my neighbors, that I feel myself, experience walking is, you take your life in your hands to cross almost any of those intersections, particularly up by the wellness center,” Palmer said.
“I think we have an issue. It’s an issue that I would hate to see ending up to be fatalities where we could have done something about it,” she said.
The town’s engineering evaluation recommended installing a traffic light, along with other improvements at the Low Country Boulevard intersection, would address the community’s safety concerns. At a June Transportation Committee meeting, assistant Town Manager Niel Brooks said the project’s engineer recommended a traffic light over other alternatives due to the traffic volume in the area. No speed limit changes in the subdivision were recommended in the evaluation.
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