RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — If you’re trying to get from one side of I-440 in North Hills to the other, the process can be cumbersome. Drivers have to navigate residential streets and largely filter out onto either Six Forks Road or St. Albans Drive. With more development in the area, city planners are working on designs for a new bridge in Midtown.
The proposed Midtown bridge would be built over I-440 to connect Barrett Drive or Wake Towne Drive with the southern segment of Quail Hollow Drive. The city anticipates the bridge would connect development on both sides of I-440 while slowing down traffic speeds.
Michael Shyu has lived on Wake Towne Drive for several years. With the bridge potentially feeding straight into his neighborhood, he worries about his children’s safety when playing outside.
“I’m sure if they open this up, people are going to be zooming through here. So, I hope they have some sort of traffic control devices like speed bumps and lights and stuff,” he said.
He already worries about his children’s safety in the neighborhood. Pointing to tire marks in teh road, Shyu says Wake Towne Drive is periodically used as drag strip.
“I’m just afraid that they’ll just come through even faster,” said Shyu.
There are three designs the city is proposing. Those designs and their potential associated costs are:
Alternate 1: Bridge over I-440 at business parcel located on Barrett Drive. $18.5 million
Alternate 2: Bridge over I-440 at vacant parcel between Barrett Drive and Wake Towne Drive (Roundabout). $23.8 million
Alternate 3: Bridge over I-440 at vacant parcel between Barrett Drive and Wake Towne Drive (Intersection). $22.2 million
The city is asking for resident input on the bridge along with the options to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
John Whitt works along Barrett Drive. He wonders what the implications for this development are.
“You’re building a new bridge that could smooth the flow of traffic and help people get to work faster, but overall you kind of have to ask, ‘okay, what is the net result given?” he said.
The bridge would connect to Quail Hallow Drive on the north side of I-440. While it’s currently a dead end with apartments, it will eventually feed in to a billion dollar development along St. Albans Drive- The Exchange.
A survey for public feedback is available online through Feb. 28.
Second bridge in the future
A second bridge is also being planned about a mile from the Midtown bridge off of Wake Town Drive. This one would connect Industrial Drive on the south side of I-440 with Bush Street on the north side of the interstate.
While the multimodal bridge would cater to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, this one would be designed for pedestrians and cyclists only.
Industrial Drive is currently home to a business park expected to be converted into a mixed-use development sometime in the future.