A pedestrian crosswalk is coming to U.S. Highway 17 in Leland in 2024.
The intersection of Ploof Road and Olde Waterford Way is destined for a change. The Town of Leland received a grant of $666,623 from the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to construct a pedestrian walkway crossing U.S. Highway 17 at this location. In addition, about 300 feet of sidewalk on the northeast side of Olde Waterford Way will link with a sidewalk network already there. A crosswalk signal is also part of the improvements. This will be the sole pedestrian crossing that will connect the facilities on both sides of Highway 17.
Leland identified a need for this crosswalk as early as 2016, says Planning and Inspections Director Benjamin Andrea. He explains the area has experienced significant residential and commercial growth.
“This project will allow residents a safe way to cross U.S. Highway 17,” Andrea says.
The project was also identified in the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2040 and 2045 long-range transportation plans and Leland’s 2016 pedestrian plan.
Accident reports confirm that no pedestrians have suffered any injury crossing Highway 17 at that location.
“We’re fortunate for that,” Andrea says. At the same time, the town wants to ensure residents’ safety. “People report to me that they see people cross the highway there. There are people who cross that highway almost on a daily basis. This [crosswalk] will increase safety for the people who currently cross the highway there.”
When asked why an overhead walkway won’t be installed, Andrea says, “It would be a safer alternative, but it certainly would be more expensive. We’re not ruling that out for the future, but it would be cost prohibitive to try to apply for that now.”
The entire project costs $833,279. Leland is committed to pay the remainder of the money based on the terms of the grant, Andrea says.
“The main thing I would convey [to the community] is that even though this will create a dedicated pedestrian crossing, it’s still very important to be safe crossing that highway,” he says, adding that people shouldn’t feel a false sense of safety by seeing the stripes on the pavement.
“At the same time, I would also encourage motorists to be cognizant that not everyone can afford a car, and some people in the community do need to walk to get where they are going,” he says.
The speed limit, which the North Carolina Department of Transportation determines, is 45 miles per hour where the crosswalk will be installed, and it will not change.
“We don’t anticipate any negative impact to traffic,” Andrea says. “That location already has a stoplight, and the delay to motorists will be minimal if at all.”
This project is estimated to be completed in 2024.
“To design the project, accept bids and do the construction takes time, but we’re looking forward to it,” Andrea says.
For more information:
Town of Leland, Ben Andrea