Project Overview and Purpose
The N. C. Department of Transportation is widening South Caldwell Street from two to three lanes between West Jordan Street and Rosman Highway in Brevard to reduce both traffic congestion and the number of wrecks. Once complete, there will be two lanes of westbound movement for U.S. 64 to mirror the two lanes of eastbound movement provided by Broad Street.
In addition to widening the road, work also involves replacing drainage structures and the sidewalk on Caldwell Street between Probart and West Jordan streets. Plans also include adequate stormwater devices. Existing drainage pipes and stormwater boxes will be replaced to control street flooding. Watson Contracting Inc. was awarded the $3.9 million construction contract, and work is scheduled to begin in November 2016 and be completed in June 2018.
'Unbalanced Couplet' Concept
The Caldwell Street widening project is a final phase in an overall traffic project called the "unbalanced couplet" – a concept that creates two southbound lanes and one northbound lane on Caldwell Street and two northbound lanes and one southbound lane on Broad Street.
Improvements to Caldwell Street were identified in the 1998 Brevard Thoroughfare Plan when NCDOT conducted traffic studies in the community and identified several issues along Broad and Caldwell streets – specifically congestion, a high number of accidents and narrow pavement widths.
The Brevard Thoroughfare Plan, as well as several other subsequent plans, recommended the unbalanced couplet, which was developed in response to NCDOT's suggestion to convert Broad and Caldwell streets into a pair of one-way streets to serve the current and future needs of traffic volume on U.S. 64.
The value of two-way streets has been identified as critical to the economic vitality of downtown business environments, and the city was not receptive to the idea of these major highways becoming one-way streets.
The unbalanced couplet allows NCDOT to provide progressive traffic signal one-way flow both eastbound (Broad Street) and westbound (Caldwell Street), while providing for one contra-flow travel lane to preserve critical access to downtown businesses.
Late 1990s: Improvements to Caldwell Street were identified in the 1998 Brevard Thoroughfare Plan when NCDOT conducted traffic studies in the community and identified several issues along Broad and Caldwell streets – specifically congestion, a high number of accidents and narrow pavement widths.
The first stage of the widening of Caldwell Street to three lanes was completed using Small Urban funds through NCDOT. This stage included right-of-way acquisition and the widening of North Caldwell Street from Probart Street north to the intersection with Broad Street.
2003: NCDOT accepted the city consultant's proposal of the unbalanced couplet concept.
2005-2006: NCDOT completed construction of the closed loop signal project and repaved and striped Broad Street. This paving and striping followed the concept of the unbalanced couplet, and the extremely narrow travel lanes that previously existed became a standard, safer width, although a through westbound travel lane on Broad Street was lost. The city requested at that time that the rest of the project, which is now known as U-5104, be put on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Projects list in order to gain funding.
2009: NCDOT held scoping meetings and a public hearing which were widely attended by property owners.
March 2015: Right-of-way negotiations with property owners started.