You’re enjoying your beautiful, tree-lined drive heading south on U.S. 1 until — out of nowhere — your interstate-like experience is thwarted by the traffic signals, busy intersections, dangerous crossovers and backed-up chaos that make up the one-mile mass of sheer confusion that is Tramway.
I don’t even go this route every day, and, yet, I hate it when I do. Try taking a left onto U.S. 1 from Carthage Street near the DMV on a busy day. Try getting into the left lane after leaving Food Lion to make a left on Tramway Road. God forbid, you try to U-turn at this intersection.
Sanford, North Carolina, isn’t known for its terrible traffic, but this piece of road is as bad as it gets in our area. And with the growth our county is seeing, it’s only going to get busier.
That’s why the North Carolina Department of Transportation has introduced the “super street” concept to alleviate this mess. As the Sanford Herald reported on July 1, the intersection transformation will begin in about two years.
The news from The Herald was met with a lot of opposition from readers on the story’s Facebook post.
“So they expect buses to make U-turns to get back to the school? What a nightmare! Wouldn’t a large roundabout be better?” wrote Sandra Wells.
I wish our city officials would stop trying to turn Sanford into Raleigh/Cary. The DOT engineers and the ones who have done their “study” of the area are not taking into consideration the schools, departments, the increase in traffic over the last couple of years and what removing the cross over will do.” Mary Rollins added.
And there are more. About 200 more. With some support sprinkled in.
Add us to the minority of “Super Street Supporters.”
The first reason is that pasture of razed red dirt currently sitting unused at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Tramway Road, behind that new-ish Bojangles. As The Herald reported, the DOT says upgrades to the highway are needed for that area to support new businesses. The Marketplace at Tramway is a great place for people to bring their dirt bikes and gun them on a quarter-mile stretch man-made trails, but it’s doubtful that’s what the developers had in mind when that land was cleared in 2013.
If you’re unfamiliar with the super street concept, think Holly Springs. The boom of businesses along the stretch of Highway 55 between Apex and Holly Springs (and into Fuquay Varina) made a super street a necessity. The most notable super street intersections can be found in front of the Target and AMC Movie Theater there, and while the U-Turn concept makes it more difficult to take a left leaving that shopping center, it makes the traffic flow for those trying trying to get to U.S. 1 a dream.
This design was necessary to allow for the commercial development in this area while keeping the traffic moving. That’s the idea behind the plans in Tramway — yes, having to turn right and eventually U-turn will be a pain, but it will be safer than trying to make a left turn across traffic or taking a right and waiting forever at the current U.S. 1/Tramway Road intersection. But for those who use Tramway as a means to get from Point A to Point B, this project will ultimately be best for their sanity.
And who knows … maybe Sanford will get that Target one day. We seriously doubt it, but one can dream. It for damn sure won’t come with U.S. 1’s current configuration. We’d be lucky to get a 15th Dollar Store.