- Published on Saturday, 01 September 2012 00:01
- Written by Super User
Dow Road runs along the west side of Pleasure Island serving as a 55 mph route connecting Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. The Kure Beach Town Council adopted a resolution asking the state to fund improvements.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
KURE BEACH - It's a long talked about and yet to be funded project; widening of Dow Road. The road is owned by the State of North Carolina and runs north to south on the west side of Pleasure Island serving as a two-lane alternate route for busy U.S. Highway 421.
The Kure Beach Town Council voted unanimously August 23, to adopt a resolution asking the State of North Carolina to provide funding to make improvements to the road. The resolution states the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization provides transportation planning services for the City of Wilmington, Town of Carolina Beach, Town of Kure Beach, Town of Wrightsville Beach and other local governments in outside of New Hanover County in Pender and Brunswick Counties.
The resolution states, "The Town of Kure Beach believes the enhancements to SR 1573 (Dow Road) to allow for multi-modal safety will be a benefit to both residents and visitors."
The narrow roadway is predominately 55 mph dropping to 45 mph at one end and 15 mph near a sharp curve leading into Kure Beach. Over the years there has been concern with growing traffic congestion and interaction with people riding bicycles due to a low shoulder composed mostly of soft sandy areas. The resolution states, "Kure Beach encourages the widening" of Dow Road, "by adding five foot shoulders on each side and adding three turn lanes to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists."
The three turn lanes include busy intersections at Dow Road and Ocean Blvd, Harper Avenue and Cape Fear Blvd's. All intersecting roads located in Carolina Beach.
The resolution states, "Increasing numbers of visitors coming to Kure Beach each year bring additional vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic" on Dow Road and, "the Town Council of Kure Beach does hereby request that the North Carolina General Assembly or North Carolina Department of Transportation provide funding for the proposed multi-modal improvements to SR 1573 (Dow Road)."
On Tuesday Mayor Dean Lambeth said a project for such improvements has been on the books since the early 1980's but has never achieved priority for full funding.
He said this paves the way for making many of the improvements already designed and planned in recent years.
Although the project is not fully funded in a list of Department of Transportation Projects across the state, Lambeth said state officials agreed to seek funding as a "maintenance project."
He said the overall estimated cost is around $1.7 million and in order for the North Carolina Department of Transportation to seek the release of additional funding to make the improvements a reality, they required the Town Council to adopt the resolution.
Lambeth said Senator Thom Goolsby, Rep. 9th District, sent a letter to NCDOT Secretary Eugene Conti, Jr, earlier this month supporting the improvements and funding.
Goolsby wrote, "I am asking that you assist in every way possible the efforts by Carolina Beach and Kure Beach to complete the Dow Road project. With the designation of this project as a priority program, significant congestion will be averted and public safety improved."
The letter was copied to other state legislators.
In September 2011, the Kure Beach Town Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing elimination of the long planned project by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to make improvements on Dow Road. The project called for improvements such as a bike lane off the side of the road, turn lanes at intersecting streets in Carolina Beach and improving a sharp curve entering downtown Kure Beach at K Ave.
Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth said the plan that's been on the books since 1983 to improve Dow Road on Pleasure Island should not be eliminated because of problems with other projects in the county. The Carolina Beach Town Council also approved an identical resolution in 2011.
On Tuesday Lambeth said being labeled a "maintenance project" makes it easier for DOT to perform the work.
He said the bike lanes on either side would be addressed at a later date, but didn't feel it would take too long to have those lines painted under a separate project once the road is widened.
Lambeth said he's optimistic the improvements could begin in the near future.