Apex Peakway SW Connector
The Apex Peakway southwest connector project will complete a gap in the existing Peakway, by constructing a four-lane bridge over South Salem Street and the CSX rail line. The project will provide greater connectivity and mobility around town for motorists and pedestrians.
Status Update (12/01/23)
- Current Status: Final Design, Permitting, and Bidding documents
- Lead Contact: Town of Apex, Russell Dalton
- Estimated Construction Timeline: Begins early 2024, anticipated to take approximately 36 months
- Estimated Construction Cost: $30 million (see breakdown in the 'Funding & Schedule' FAQ below)
- Final Design Plans (September 2023)
- Environmental consultation document for phase approved by NCDOT;
- CSX Railroad Construction Agreement has been fully executed, and easements have been acquired.
- Final signal plans are pending NCDOT approval. Final plans/bidding package will be submitted by December. A request for Construction Authorization has been submitted for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) review/approval in advance of advertising for construction in early 2024.
- Apex Electric Utilities Department has started utility pole relocation work along S. Salem Street. This work includes tree removal and trimming to shift existing poles and overhead lines back along both the Apex Peakway and S. Salem Street corridors. (See map below.)
- Funding & Schedule
How is this project funded?
The Apex Peakway Southwest Connector is partially funded by each of the following:
- 2015 Transportation Bond - Provided funding for design, permitting, utility relocation and right of way acquisition.
- 2021 Streets and Sidewalks Bond - Provides the extra funds needed for construction, including the construction agreement with CSXT, Town utility work, construction management, and inspections.
- Federal Funding - A total of up to $12.5 million in federal funds have been awarded as a 50% matching grant toward construction of the Peakway project, lowering the town's overall cost. The Town must comply with all federal and state requirements to be eligible for reimbursement.
When is start of construction?
The CSXT Construction Agreement approved by Town Council in August 2023 is the last remaining item required to be signed by CSXT before the Town can request Construction Authorization from NCDOT/FHWA. There are several steps, including contract approval and utility relocation, that are happening concurrently for construction to start in early 2024.
What is the current anticipated finish timeframe?
From start of construction to final NCDOT approval, the project is expected to take up to three years to construct, anticipated to finish in early 2027.
- Construction and Traffic Impacts
What is planned to reduce impact on homeowners along the edges of the construction zone (i.e. to minimize noise, protect property and privacy, etc.)?
The roadway plans establish limits of construction where tree protection fencing and silt fencing is required. There will also be limits on the time of day construction is permitted to take place with no plans for nighttime work. Construction activity is not permitted on private property without easements being acquired ahead of time.
When do you expect construction impacts (i.e. road closures/detours/etc.) to begin for the Peakway and S. Salem Street? Will both Peakway and S. Salem close at the same time?
We anticipate closure of the Peakway from Towhee Drive to Salem Street to begin when construction starts, and last for the entire period of construction. The detour route includes Olive Chapel Road, Williams Street (NC 55), and Salem Street. Salem Street will remain open, except as needed using flagging operations to halt traffic when bridge construction is underway, primarily to lift steel girders into place.
What entrance(s) of Whitehall Manor will remain open during construction, to allow timely access of emergency services (fire, EMS), as well as access for deliveries, trucks, service vehicles, etc.
Grappenhall Drive at Salem Street, Grappenhall Drive at Peakway, and Whiston Drive to Green at Scotts Mill (providing local access to Town Side Drive) will remain open, so three out of the four existing routes will remain available.
Will Towhee Drive remain open at the Peakway, or is it being closed?
Towhee Drive will be closed during construction, but reopen as a right-in / right-out access on both sides of the Peakway, still serving Whitehall Manor to the west and Shangri-La to the east.
What plans are in place to prevent excessive cut-through traffic in Whitehall Manor during the construction?
Once the Peakway is closed at S. Salem, town staff will be studying Grappenhall Drive and Applethorn Drive, and implementing temporary traffic calming measures (speed humps) if volumes and speeds meet the Town’s adopted traffic calming criteria. The criteria is 100 vehicles during an hour when average speeds exceed 30 mph.
When will the intersection of Tingen Road and Salem Street be closed? What are plans to relieve congestion and reroute traffic off of Tingen?
Tingen Road will be permanently closed at the railroad crossing once the Peakway SW Connector is complete and open to traffic. In the interim, a temporary traffic signal was installed at the Tingen Road / Justice Heights Street intersection with S. Salem Street.
James Street between Tingen Road and Apex Peakway was planned and constructed as a major collector street to accommodate future additional traffic.
What measures are being taken both from a capacity planning and infrastructure perspective to ensure that we do not need to do costly upgrades in the future?
Design year 2040 traffic projections were used to evaluate traffic capacity of the bridge, loop, and Salem Street. The bridge will be constructed as a 4-lane structure with wide sidewalks on both sides based on long term plans for a 4-lane Peakway ultimate section to continue further north and south of the bridge. The loop connector to Salem Street will be constructed as a 4-lane road and dual left turn lanes will be constructed on Salem Street approaching the loop. Additional Peakway or Salem Street widening beyond the scope of this project is not needed or funded within the design year horizon at this time.
- Traffic Signals, Signs, & Markings
Will a traffic signal be installed at the intersection of Apex Peakway and James Street?
Traffic signals are being installed on the Apex Peakway at James Street and at both ends of the Salem Street loop connector (Peakway and Salem Street) as part of the project, and are planned to be operational when construction is complete and the road is open to traffic. Signalized pedestrian crosswalks will be installed at those locations to cross the Peakway, the loop connector, and James Street.
After the connector is completed, what will be the posted speed limit for the section through the Salem Village neighborhood?
The existing 35 mph posting north and south of Salem Street is proposed to remain the same in the project plans.
At Apex Peakway and Padstone Drive, there is an existing pedestrian crosswalk. Are there safety plans for this crosswalk?
The Padstone Drive crossing is currently a high-visibility crosswalk with double-sided warning signs to provide advance warning for oncoming traffic. At this time there are no plans to add a pushbutton warning system (nor is that typical for a 2-lane 35 mph zone crossing such as this one). As for all crosswalks including those with or without signs or with push-button rapid-flash, pedestrians should continue to use caution when crossing by observing any oncoming traffic to ensure there’s an adequate gap or drivers are slowing/stopping before attempting to cross.
- Utilities and Technology
Is the connector being planned with smart features such as accident or remote awareness cameras?
No cameras or special crash detection technology are proposed with the project. Cameras can be added at a later date by Apex and/or NCDOT.
Will extra fiber duct be laid during the Peakway construction to ensure our future utility needs without digging up the Peakway?
An underground duct bank will be constructed along Salem Street under the bridge to accommodate both public electric service and private communication cables. Outside of that area, overhead lines are still proposed to be used in the manner they are today, and there are no additional new underground utility ducts being constructed by Apex as part of the project.
How is electric car Infrastructure being planned for in the design?
No electric vehicle charging infrastructure is being planned as part of the project.
The southwest connector project has been in the works for several years, with community engagement throughout the planning and design phases. See information below presented during various open house sessions.
Open House Information and Visualizations
Environmental Documentation (January 2018)
The environmental documentation requirements under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) have been completed and approved. The full documentation can be found here: Approved Categorical Exclusion (PDF).
Traffic Noise Report (February 2017)
In February 2017, the North Carolina Department of Transportation approved the Traffic Noise Report completed for the Apex Peakway Southwest Connector project. Traffic noise impacts and temporary construction noise impacts can be a consequence of transportation projects. The Traffic Noise Report utilized computer models created with the latest Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Traffic Noise Model software to predict noise levels and define impacted receptors (locations) along the proposed new roadway project. Five impacted residential receptors were identified. Noise abatement for each impacted receptor was found to be either not reasonable or not feasible. Please review the report for detailed information.
Neighborhood Meetings (February-March 2017)
In response to comments received at a public open house in December of 2016, the Town hosted additional meetings for those neighborhoods adjacent to the project, including: Shangri-La Mobile Home Park (February 20, 2017), Whitehall Manor (March 6, 2017), and Salem Village (March 14, 2017). During the meetings the project team reviewed the preliminary design of the Apex Peakway Southwest Connector project, discussed comments and responses received during the open house held in December, and offered an opportunity for attendees to ask any additional questions.