VOL. 115 | NO. 111 | Tuesday, June 12, 2001
Hacks Cross Road/Holmes Road $1
on drawing board
By MARY DANDO
The Daily News
Motorists crossing the intersection of Hacks Cross and Holmes roads might see improvement in traffic flow if a project to add traffic lights is approved Monday by the Shelby County Commission.
The resolution to award Ferrell Paving Inc. $1.7 million for intersection improvements at Hacks Cross and Holmes will be discussed at a meeting of the Shelby County Commission public works committee at 12:30 p.m. Monday and will be included on the commission agenda at 1:30 p.m.
The contract will be appropriated from the capital improvement budget and will cover intersection improvements including traffic signalization. A further $171,080 will be retained for extra work allowance as well as $248,390 for right-of-way acquisition.
"This is a four-way stop right now and we have major residential and industrial traffic transiting that intersection basically in all directions at various times of the day. Obviously, the traffic backs up a great deal and there is a delay there," said Mike Oakes, Shelby County Engineer.
"Theres a need for trying to improve the ability of that road to function and handle the amount of traffic thats on it."
Staff had initially looked at doing improvements from Shelby Drive to Holmes Road, which would have included the intersection, Oakes said. They realized that having a lower CIP budget than they had in the recent decade, they had to figure out how to correct some of the problems with traffic in the county, but do it in a more economical way.
"So, what we have determined, and this is done in a number of cities, is rather than improving the entire road on the intersection we had to figure out a way to get traffic through there more readily. The more lanes you have at the intersection along with a signal, you can make a vast improvement on the amount of traffic that can transit a certain corridor," he said.
Commissioner Clair Vander Schaaf, public works committee chairman, said road improvements had to be far behind more pressing demands in the CIP budget such as the county jail or schools.
"Theres not enough in any of the budgets to do anything we need. We have too much we have to do for jails and schools under the current conditions of federal court and state mandate," he said.
"This is a secondary issue. It needs to be dealt with. Where were going to get the money, I dont know. We can only raise taxes so far."
"I wish we didnt have to raise them at all but, taxes are going to have to be raised a tremendous level to where they are now to take care of things that we must do. Were in a situation in which are bond indebtedness is getting dangerously high and we cant keep going issuing our bonds and increasing our debts," Vander Schaaf said.
Although there was not the funding to widen the four legs of the intersection, the improvement would provide intermediate relief for traffic along the Holmes and Hacks Cross corridors, Oakes said.
"There will be improvements for the motoring public, industrial, residential, commercial, whatever it may be, when this intersection is complete even though we havent widened the approaching legs in all four directions."
The best scenario would be for the county to widen the road in all four directions to six or seven lanes, he said.
"There isnt enough money in the CIP budget. We recognize the funding levels that are appropriate right now in the Capital Improvements Program for Shelby County government. We recognize those funding levels, so what were trying to do is decide priorities and do the thing thatll give us the biggest bang for the buck," Oakes said.
"This, frankly, will give us a tremendous improvement in traffic flow. People out there, when this is finished, will recognize a tremendous improvement."