State and local officials celebrated on Friday, April 20, the start of a much-anticipated project that will improve the safety and traffic flow of a University of North Carolina Pembroke gateway in Robeson County.
James Trogdon, secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, joined UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings and Pembroke Mayor Charles Gregory Cummings in a groundbreaking ceremony to reconstruct a mile of North Odom Street/Prospect Road along the campus.
The university contacted the department about the safety of its students crossing the road, and state engineers investigated and recommended several roadway enhancements.
“We collaborated with the university and the town to fine-tune what became an innovative design,” Trogdon said. “This project will transform an important campus corridor and help The University of North Carolina at Pembroke continue to expand its facilities and attract new students.”
The $5 million contract, which the N.C. Department of Transportation awarded in February, will add medians, roundabouts, crosswalks and sidewalks to a road used every day by students. The project will reduce the five-lane road into one travel lane in each direction.
Chancellor Cummings said the project’s main goal is to promote the safety of the students.
“The upgrades will also support campus and community growth resulting from NC Promise and enhance the first impression of UNC Pembroke as a model regional university,” the chancellor said. “We appreciate the strong leadership and advocacy from our many supporters who made this project possible.”
Grady Hunt, an NCDOT transportation board member who lives in Robeson County, participated in the event with about 100 guests outside the university’s Givens Performing Arts Center.
“This much-needed makeover will dramatically improve not only the safety but the appearance of a major route into the UNC Pembroke campus,” Hunt said.
The improvements are in step with a departmental goal to promote multimodal uses of travel and find solutions to improve the safety of pedestrians and motorists alike. This short video shows how the new road will look and function.
The contractor, BMCO Construction of Lumberton, plans to begin work next week on the project, which will run between West Third Street and just north of Cornith Street. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2019.
James Trogdon, secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, joins Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings, Pembroke Mayor Greg Cummings and other local and state officials during the groundbreaking ceremony on April 20.