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SHALLOTTE—Aldermen are mulling possible road improvements and additions to help solve downtown traffic problems and meet requirements of the town’s vision plan.
On Tuesday, the town heard possible alternatives from traffic engineers from Ramey Kemp, the firm the board hired to help with road and traffic issues.
Engineers presented several “Main Street alternatives” including widening Main Street to a five-lane section, which would be the least expensive option but would also be the least pedestrian friendly and have the lowest vehicle capacity.
Other alternatives included building a new route bypassing Main Street to divert primary through-traffic away from Main Street, reducing congestion.
Two alternatives were suggested: a northern bypass running from Brierwood or Village Point Road to Smith Avenue partially along White Street and a southern bypass running from Sellers Street at Village Road to the east to Copas Road/Bluff Road and following the alignment of Bluff Road to the east, ending at a wetland area.
“Bridging the wetland area would provide a link to the south side of the downtown area targeted for redevelopment in the vision plan,” the engineers stated. “From the wetlands crossing, the bypass would run on the southern edge of the downtown redevelopment area and then run south of the Shallotte Crossing shopping center, ultimately reconnecting with U.S. 17.”
Both alternatives could carry high traffic volumes and help improve Main Street in keeping with the vision plan but would also have a major impact on wetlands.
The southern bypass would also affect several residential properties.
Another alternative is creating a road parallel to Main Street and making each a one-way street.
The new roadway would extend from the existing bridge west of downtown to the east and would tie into existing Main Street just east of Smith Avenue near Home Depot.
Creating parallel roads would allow for pedestrian and bike movements, have fewer wetland impacts and allow traffic signals to be timed to provide good progression on Main Street.
Negatively, this alternative would have a lower vehicle capacity than a bypass, could limit development options due to the small separation between the roadways and could result in more driveway connections.
Another one-way option includes a parallel roadway on the south side of Main Street.
At Tuesday’s meeting, aldermen and planning board members listened to the engineers’ report and agreed to continue the discussion.