Future road improvements on the north side of the city and county could be a springboard for future economic development.

But first residents will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on these road improvements. The improvements were developed by North Carolina Department of Transportation to expand Tramway Road and U.S. 1/ U.S. 15-501.

There are two improvement proposals.

One proposed improvement would be to relocate Tramway Road to a new alignment moving west from Bruce Coggins Road between the VA Outpatient Clinic and Westfield Rehabilitation and Health Center, intersecting U.S. 1/15-501 across from Pendergrass Road. The other would relocate Tramway Road from about 2,000 feet east of Bruce Coggins Road moving west behind the VA Outpatient Clinic and Westfield Rehabilitation and Health Center, also connecting to U.S. 1/15-501 at Pendergrass Road.

As part of the improvements by NCDOT, a “Synchronized Street” system might be used to help reduce traffic delays where Tramway, Center Church and Pendergrass roads intersect with U.S. 1/U.S. 15-501. Using the Synchronized Street system at these intersections side-street travelers who want to cross or turn left at a Synchronized Street intersection must first turn right and then make a U-turn to return to their desired route.

With positive feedback from the public, construction is expected to begin in 2025 and be completed in 2028.

Besides the benefit of a smoother traffic flow along the routes in the future will there be anything else to look forward to?

Bob Joyce, senior director of Business Retention and Expansion for Sanford Area Growth Alliance, said the improvements would definitely benefit economic development, especially in the city around the area of Tramway Road.

“The area around Tramway (Road) has for a number of years been ripe for commercial development,” he said.

He says the easy access to sewer and water within the city make it a prime area for development.

“I think developers see it (area) more as commercial retail development, particularly in the area behind the CVS and Bojangles. You’ve got some large parcels where you can develop.”

He said in the county it would be a bit more difficult to develop, but thinks that apartment and housing developments would be ideal.

Councilman Samuel Gaskins’ ward, Ward 1, takes up a portion of Tramway Road. He said economic development is still ongoing in the city and his ward and and others in that general area should benefit from NCDOT’s recommendations.

“Growth is happening; it’s not going away despite the pandemic,” he said. “So the changes will help alleviate a lot of the current problems.”

The problems he is referring to is traffic congestion in the area of Tramway Road and U.S. 1. He said there is a lot of traffic congestion there, especially in the morning.

“We’re backed up terribly in that area in the morning,” he said. “That’s because we have five schools in that area.”

He said any changes made by NCDOT would only improve traffic flow and safety. Once in place more economic development will come.

“Once the traffic has improved that will attract more development,” he said. “There would be more retail, office and commercial development and certainly the potential for a shopping center area.”

Before any of that can take place NCDOT still needs input, especially those who live and work in the areas to be improved.

The public can view NCDOT’s proposed improvements online at www.publicinput.com/US-1-15-501-Sanford. Instructions for submitting comments and questions is posted on the same link.

The public can also NCDOT at 855-925-2801 (Code 8173).

The deadline for public input on these changes and all alternate proposals is Oct. 29.