The long-planned loop around Fuquay-Varina’s business districts, designed to ease traffic congestion in the heart of town, moved into its final phase last week when the town board approved a contract with Kimley-Horn & Associates to move forward with design and environmental permitting for the North Judd Parkway NW.
The engineering firm’s work will include an environmental study of the planned route that will extend from NC 55 north, westward along Wilbon Road, then curve south to intersect with NC 42 west, finally extending to the current SW Judd Pkwy extension now under construction, extending to US 401 South to complete the loop.
A $1.5 million matching funds grant has been received from the Capital Area Municipal Planning Organization (CAMPO) to help pay for the engineering design work, including the environmental study. The town’s share of the cost is $300,000.
While town board members and others are eager to move ahead with the final leg of the loop, town planning director Mike Sorensen warns against getting too excited, too soon about a construction completion date. Once the environmental and engineering design is completed, the next step is coming up with funds to construct this final phase.
Sorensen points out that the original idea for planning a roadway around town was discussed—and studies authorized— more than 15 years ago. In 1994 the loop plan was updated and put in its final form. Thus far, three-fourths of the loop has been completed.
While Sorensen did not come to work for the town until 1990, the engineering firm he was a part of in 1980s was hired to do a transportation plan and a land use plan for Fuquay-Varina. The firm’s plans included a road that would circle the heart of town.
Sorensen has been involved with the project for a long time.
The first leg of the loop, now known as Judd Parkway SE, was built by the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Until that time East Academy Street curved north to intersect with Highway 401. This NCDOT project established the Judd Parkway SE and created the current intersection at East Academy Street.
About two years ago the second leg of the loop was opened, extending Judd Parkway from a point near the Wal-Mart store to NC 55 north (Broad Street). Since the NCDOT declined to award Fuquay-Varina any funding for that project, the town financed the work with money from a bond issue approved by citizens in 2007.
The Judd Parkway SW section was completed around 2004-2005. It extended the Judd Parkway from US 401 south westward to the entrance of the Southview Pointe subdivision, the current location where the town is extending Judd Parkway SW at NC 42 West. The Southwest section of the parkway was and is being constructed by a combination of town funds and private developer funding.
Having Kimley Horn do the environmental study (established by the National Environmental Protection Act) and required by the Corps of Engineers, is expected to be a plus when the town seeks funding to construct the final parkway segment.