by Aaron Burns

HUNTERSVILLE – Town officials know the section of Gilead Road at Wynfield Creek Parkway needs a facelift to alleviate traffic concerns.

However, there’s no immediate timetable for a solution.

Max Buchanan, the director of engineering and public works, brought up three proposals during the Jan. 22 town board meeting, any one of which could be a viable answer to the increased traffic, he said.

“We envision, long-term, for Gilead Road to be something like a boulevard,” he said.

A permanent fix to the congestion caused by an estimated 15,000 cars traveling daily from McCoy Road to Wynfield Creek won’t come anytime soon because of the high costs associated with such a project.

“A $7-8 million, four-lane thoroughfare is the ultimate solution,” Buchanan said. “It would move traffic. Vehicles moving out of Wynfield Creek would have less delays during peak times.”

He offered three short-term options for the congested road:

• Widen Gilead from Ranson Road to Wynfield Creek to allow additional left-turn lanes. This option wouldn’t have any safety concerns with it, according to Buchanan’s report. There were only four accidents classified as “correctable” in the past three years at the intersection.

• Add traffic lights to the area. More traffic lights could break up large groups of traffic, Commissioner Jeff Neely said, but they would move the problem to a different stretch of road.

• Build a roadway alignment called the Bradford Hill Extension, a $1.5-million project that would provide extra access to Wynfield Creek Parkway. This option would also include minor adjustments to Gilead Road to accommodate more traffic signals.

The existing parkway at Gilead would become right-in, right-out only access.

Town engineering staff suggested the first option as the best for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a question of timing more than anything else,” Neely said.

“Is there a band-aid solution that makes sense to the area? If we solve one (traffic) problem, does that create more problems? We have to make sure we’re solving traffic issues without creating safety issues.”