University City

Learn about IBM Drive/Mallard Creek connector in University City

Information about a proposed University City road connection will be available during a public meeting Oct. 28.

Area residents and business owners can learn more and ask questions about the Mallard Creek Road/IBM Drive connector during the meeting, hosted by the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

Once complete, the proposed connector will join IBM Drive to Mallard Creek Road at Baucom Drive. That will help relieve congestion at intersections such as Harris Boulevard at Mallard Creek Road and at IBM Drive, NCDOT officials said.

The nearly mile-long road will cut behind the University City YMCA beside the rear of the Autumn Park Apartments property, said NCDOT spokeswoman Jen Thompson.

The proposed connector also would improve vehicle and pedestrian access to the Y and area businesses, such as Well Fargo, she said.

The proposed connector would be a two-lane road with 11-foot-wide lanes; curbs and gutters; and a 10-foot multi-use path on the side facing the YMCA, Thompson said. A retaining wall on the northern portion of the connector would reduce the road’s effect on the YMCA’s walking path.

The connector – part of the larger Mallard Creek Road extension project – would be designed to accommodate roughly 4,400 vehicles per day by design year 2035, Thompson said. A 35 mph speed limit would help ensure the connector remains safe and accessible for pedestrians.

“I think it will be something (welcomed by) people who want quicker access and to not sit at stoplights,” she said. “It’s part of making that local network more connected and more friendly for motorists and pedestrians.”

The estimated time frame for the connector road project will depend on the approval of the required environmental document that outlines the possible effects of the project on water, air and quality of life, among other things, Thompson said.

If the document is finished and approved by March or April, Thompson said, property acquisition would likely start shortly thereafter, followed by construction, possibly in June.

Most of the property needed for the project belongs to the YMCA, and the department has begun purchase conversations with property owners, Thompson said.

The estimated cost of the project has yet to be determined, as it’s still in the early stages of engineering design and has yet to be let out to bid to contractors, Thompson said.

The Oct. 28 public meeting will be the first for the project. More could follow, once more details – such as proposed names for the connector road and more design specifics – are in place, Thompson said.

“We’ve been calling it the IBM Drive connector, but that’s not the official name. We haven’t determined one yet,” she said. “(University City) folks should provide their input. We want them to be happy with what they see and hear.”

No formal presentation will be given during the Oct. 28 meeting, Thompson said, but NCDOT representatives will be available to provide details and answer questions.

Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to call or email their thoughts and questions, she said, noting that information should be available online soon.

“We want people to be involved with what we’re doing,” Thompson said. “We welcome what people have to say, because we really do take it into consideration.”