Holmes Rd. design is revealed

By John Sharp

Final design work is nearing completion for widening and improving Holmes Rd. from Blue Ridge Blvd. to 137th St.

Plans call for the improvements to include a continuous middle turn lane, a 10-foot paved multi-use trail on the west side of Holmes, a 5-foot sidewalk on the east side, curbs, gutters and street lights,  according to Jay Burress, a project manager for McClure Engineering Company that is designing the improvements for the city.

The Holmes Rd. design includes Blue Ridge Blvd. to 135th Street . Photo Martin City Community Improvement District.

Assistant City Engineer Chad Thompson told a May 9 public meeting on the project hosted by the Martin City Community Improvement District (CID) at Jess & Jim’s Steakhouse that the total cost of the project could approach up to $7.5 million, and funding has not yet been included in the city’s 5-year capital improvement plan that is updated annually.

Adjoining land owners and business representatives at the meeting expressed enthusiasm about the planned improvements, and nobody expressed opposition.  

However, several people including this columnist expressed support for continuing the improvements to include the intersection of Holmes & Blue Ridge which has significantly deteriorated over the years.  Water ponds at the northwest corner of the intersection and freezes in the winter.

Current plans call for stopping the improvements just south of the intersection, but Thompson said intersection improvements could be added to the project if funds are available.

Funds for designing the improvements were recommended by the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) that this columnist serves on and approved by the City Council.  PIAC also recommended and the Council recently approved $150,000 for right-of-way acquisition for the project during the city’s 2019-20 fiscal year that began May 1.

Burress said a small amount of permanent right-of-way acquisition will be needed for the project, but temporary construction easements will be needed all along the route.

Martin City community leaders anticipate that construction funding for the project will come from the $800 million general obligation bond issue city voters approved in April 2017 since improvement of Holmes Rd. clear from Minor Dr. to 137th St. was listed as an eligible project during the bond campaign.Shovel-ready projects that are completely designed and have necessary right-or-way acquired generally are given high priority for bond funding, particularly when they leverage additional private funding.  The bond-funded recently completed improvements to 135th St. in Martin City are a perfect example of this since the Martin City CID provided funding to assist with right-of-way acquisition and to pay for major streetscape enhancements.

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