First Posted: 1/15/2009
PEMBROKE - Town officials say residents should prepare for traffic delays and detours as the state begins several road improvements around town that will occur simultaneously.
But the improvements will be worth the inconvenience, Mayor Milton Hunt said Monday night during the Pembroke Town Council meeting.
The state Department of Transportation in early spring is expected to begin widening N.C. 711 by 2 feet on each side from Jones Street to Lumberton. The $6 million project will allow for a bike trail between Pembroke and Lumberton and will also include resurfacing work.
Town Manager McDuffie Cummings said residents can expect improvements to University Drive and Odum Street, both of which are near The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Mayor Hunt said new traffic lights are expected to go up at McDonald's and Pizza Hut.
“This will be just in time before the football season,” Hunt said. Hunt, a UNCP trustee, was referring to UNCP's season opener on Sept. 1.
There are also plans to close the West Third Street entrance to UNCP by 2008.
“There's going to be a lot of activity, particularly from DOT, around Pembroke,” Hunt said. “We look forward to it. All it will do is enhance our community.”
In a related matter, the board voted to support a resolution to name the portion of Interstate 74 that runs through Robeson County Native American Highway. The old U.S. 74 would remain Andrew Jackson Highway. The resolution was brought by state Rep. Ronnie Sutton.
Also during Monday's meeting, resident David Oxendine asked town officials to do a better job enforcing its regulations dealing with yard debris. Oxendine said furniture has been left in a yard near his home for several months.
“It looks like the people have done renovations to their home,” Oxendine said. “There is another pile behind Town Hall.”
Oxendine also complained about abandoned vehicles.
“We've got a code enforcement officer,” Mayor Hunt said. “We need to turn it over to her and let her handle. We are working on it.”
Also during the public comment period, Bob Williamson said the town should invest in a downtown revitalization plan similar to Fairmont's. Williamson said the departure of Pembroke Hardware, which recently moved just outside the town limits, has added to the empty buildings along Main Street.
“I think this town should mirror the college,” Williamson said. “The college is a very immaculate, clean, beautiful place and the town doesn't mirror it. If I was bringing my daughter to college and was driving up Third Street, I'd think twice about it. The college is a boon to this town and we need to do something to bring this town to the same standards that the college has.”
Mitchell Lowry asked the council if the town would contact the DOT concerning repairs to the railroad crossing at Cornith Road. Lowry said guard rails are needed at the crossing.
“We have public school buses that enter that road and leave every morning,” Lowry said.