Local News

Funding for Extended Cary Street Could Be Redirected, Some Say

Posted March 19, 2008 6:26 p.m. EDT

— The Town of Cary wants to give motorists a way to get through downtown without waiting on the trains that cross Academy Street and Harrison Avenue several times a day by building a road tunnel.

It would extend Walker Street 1,200 feet from Cedar Street northward to Chapel Hill Road. It would be a road tunnel with sidewalks, not only for vehicles but for pedestrian and bicyclists, as well, said Joe Moore with Cary's Engineering Department.

To build a tunnel that runs underneath the railroad tracks, it will cost the town about $15 million. About $980,000 in federal funds has been set aside for the project.

Some say the money should be used on other projects elsewhere downtown, such as improving the town's streetscape, building a town square or turning the old Cary elementary school into a community arts center.

"There are several other projects that may be important to look at before we begin that one," downtown business owner Glenda Westbrook said.

Cary's getting ready to start the design phase of Walker Street.

"Having an alternate route for those everyday commuters, in addition to emergency personnel, I I think everyone would realize there's a need for the project," Moore said.

Residents can weigh in on the Walker Street extension at a public hearing Monday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Page-Walker Hotel next to town hall.

Construction could begin in Spring 2010 and be complete by Winter 2011.