Thinking back to early 2013, when the Town of Wake Forest and NC Department of Transportation announced that Rogers Road would be closed down in 2015 so that the Rogers Road Bridge would be replaced I was filled with apprehension. Now over three years later and multiple delays, the bridge replacement project is just days away. The Rogers Road Bridge replacement has significant long-term benefits for all of the residents in the area so I keep telling myself dealing with the detour will just be a temporary inconvenience. The new bridge will make getting around the Heritage Wake Forest/ Holding Village area faster and safer. In addition to widening the road and building a safer bridge, the project includes a greenway underpass and the addition of new sidewalks.
The NC Department of Transportation is overseeing the project and construction will start on the Rogers Road Bridge Monday, June 27th. The start date has been moved several times, most recently from its previous date of June 13th. This latest delay is due to the contractor experiencing delays on the replacement of another area bridge that spans Smith Creek due to all of the wet weather we recently had. The Rogers Road Bridge Replacement Project is part of the NCDOT’s State-Funded Bridge Improvement Program to improve the overall condition of the state’s bridges.
NCDOT originally planned to replace the Rogers Road Bridge in 2015 and then widen the road from Hope Lutheran Church to Forestville Road within the next 10-15 years. In an effort to reduce road closure times and lower construction costs, the Town of Wake Forest asked the NCDOT to move up the Rogers Road widening project to overlap with the bridge replacement. With all of the growth in the area, we should be thankful that these two projects will coincide. The bridge is being replaced because it was deemed functionally obsolete which means that while it is safe, it will would require major repair since it was built to safety standards no longer used for bridges. Another reason the bridge is being replaced is to meet current and future traffic demands. The goal is to improve capacity and relieve the traffic tie-ups that occur during school rush hour. The NCDOT plans to replace the existing two-lane bridge with a five-lane bridge and widen the two lanes of traffic to five lanes from Hope Lutheran Church to Forestville Road/ Rogers Road Intersection.
The closure, which is projected to last until late October 2016, will send drivers onto a signed route using Heritage Lake Road to Highway/ NC 98 Bypass to South Main Street. Another detour option depending on your final destination would be Forestville Road to Ligon Mill Road to South Main Street. See the map featured for the detour routes. For more information about the Rogers Road Bridge Replacement Project, including an updated downloadable detour map, visit www.wakeforestnc.gov and search “Rogers Road Bridge.”
The Town of Wake Forest has fielded numerous calls from residents and business owners with concerns about the project. This project will have a significant impact on the school traffic at Heritage Elementary and Heritage Middle Schools. Town and school officials are asking area drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time. I am bracing myself for the temporary hassle, knowing the long-term gains for everyone living in the area. The project is slated to take 135 days. I would say the average resident living in the area crosses the Roger Road Bridge four times a day between commuting to work, driving to the YMCA or Anytime Fitness, filing up at Sheets, sports activities at the Factory, carpooling the kids to Heritage Elementary or Heritage Middle School to getting treats at Dairy Depot. That would equal driving the detour route over 500 times! I am sure that the residents in the area, including myself, are going to get creative or make some major changes to the stores, gas stations and activities they frequent over the next 135 days due to the detour! Be on the look-out for the electronic message boards announcing the Rogers Road Bridge closure, they are scheduled to be up this week.