Holly Springs bypass upgrades slow to relieve congestion
Posted December 22, 2015
Holly Springs, N.C. — The Town of Holly Springs more than doubled in population between 2000 and 2010.
Now, about 30,000 people live there – and traffic congestion shows it. One of the busier stretches of road in Holly Springs is the N.C. Highway 55 Bypass, which allows drivers to make their way around downtown Holly Springs as they travel between Apex and Fuquay-Varina.
The town talked last year about a project to ease the pressure on the highway, but drivers haven't noticed any changes.
At rush hour, Donna Muncy tries to avoid the bypass through Holly Springs.
"On 55, between 4 and 6 o'clock, it's a mad house," Muncy said. "Bumper to bumper."
Last year, the town drew up a plan to reconfigure the big chokepoint – the 55 bypass at Avent Ferry Road. Among the changes, eastbound bypass traffic, which backs up in the evening, would make a free flowing right turn onto Avent Ferry Road toward the many neighborhoods on that side of town.
But a year later, the intersection looks the same, with one exception.
"It's gotten busier," said Kendra Parrish, Town of Holly Springs engineer.
Parrish said traffic congestion is getting worse, but changes are coming.
The town finally has state and federal approval for the $1.6 million project. Parrish said the delay helps Holly Springs taxpayers.
"That took a little while, but it's an 80 percent-funded project by the federal government," Parrish said.
Construction should begin by February and wrap up by the fall of 2016.
Another part of the project would extend Main Street back toward Piney Grove Wilbon Road and give drivers coming in from Harnett County another way to get to the bypass.
The town also plans to synchronize traffic signals along the bypass, which means rush hours should be shorter.
Holly Springs eventually plans to widen Avent Ferry Road around the Highway 55 bypass, but construction on that part of the project likely would not begin until 2017.