12/7/20: YOU MAY LIVE-STREAM MEETING OF CUT-THROUGH TRAFFIC COMMITTEE. Plus A Followup on the Town Council Meeting.

Summertime weekend traffic at the intersection of Sea Oats Trail with Duck Road, looking west

You will be able to live-stream Thursday’s meeting of the citizens’ Exploratory Committee to Address Cut-Through Traffic with the Town’s traffic study consultant on You Tube, according to Town Manager Cliff Ogburn, who spoke with The Beacon today.

The cut-through traffic committee will meet at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Pitts Center to receive a progress report from J.M. Teague Engineering and Planning, which has been hired to conduct a traffic study of Southern Shores that is based largely on police data of vehicle counts. The consultant will appear by Zoom, Mr. Ogburn said.

This meeting will be an informational session designed to include the committee in the study process. There will be no public-comment period.

J.M. Teague’s final report is expected to be submitted in mid-February, Mr. Ogburn said.

You may access the real-time live-stream feed of the meeting at (57) Southern Shores – YouTube.

Anyone who attends the meeting must observe COVID-19 safety protocol, including wearing a mask or other protective face covering.

(For background, see The Beacon, 12/4/20 and 10/14/20.)

FOLLOWUP ON TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

Upon speaking with Mr. Ogburn, we were able to clear up some of the confusion that confounded us when we viewed the Dec. 1 Town Council meeting videotape. Some of the problems had to do with not being able to hear people, especially staff members who spoke off-microphone and out of sight of the camera.

While we thank all Council and staff attendees for wearing protective masks at all times during the meeting, these COVID-19 precautions also interfered with their audibility.

When staff members do not speak into a microphone at the lectern, they cannot be heard on the You Tube videotape, and it becomes imperative for members of the Town Council, who always have microphones, to repeat what they said for the public record.

We also shared with Mr. Ogburn our concern that the Nov. 17 meeting of the Streets Committee—formerly known as the Capital Infrastructure Improvement Committee–was not properly reported at the Council meeting. We are hopeful that minutes of the meeting will be published on the Town website soon. 

Thanks to Mr. Ogburn, we now understand why Wood Duck Court, a cul de sac off of South Dogwood Trail, was selected for an asphalt-overlay project, and an estimate from RPC Contracting, Inc. for the job was solicited and in the Dec. 1 meeting packet.  

This project arose with a complaint by two homeowners to the Town’s Public Works Dept., according to Mr. Ogburn, who said that he could have authorized it without formal approval by the Town Council, but because he is still fairly new to his position, he decided to bring it to the Council’s attention.

RPC submitted a proposal for the overlay job of $18,430 to the Town’s engineering contractor, Joseph Anlauf, on Oct. 30, 2020. RPC also handled the recent resurfacing of U.S. Highway 158.

The PW Dept. has been keeping Wood Duck Court in “decent condition,” Mr. Ogburn said, especially the road’s shoulders. The pavement has been “torn up” and “rutted,” he said, by construction vehicles and trash and recycling trucks traveling upon it.

“We’ve been putting a Band-Aid on it,” Mr. Ogburn explained. “This should be a fix.” 

The Town Council also unanimously approved last week directing the Town Manager to prepare an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) for the purpose of identifying a professional engineering firm with “the knowledge, skill, and ability,” according to Mr. Ogburn, to perform a street paving study of the Town’s 37 miles of roadway.

Councilman and Streets Committee Co-Chairperson Matt Neal, with whom we also spoke today, brought up the idea of commissioning a paving study at last Tuesday’s meeting.

He said then that “It would behoove us to move forward with a street study” that would enable “objective” decision-making on the street projects that the Town undertakes and the funding it allocates to them. Today, he spoke about having an expert collect “scientific data”

At the meeting, Mr. Ogburn said he thought that a study, designed to assess pertinent factors, such as alligator cracking, raveling, patchwork, or rideability, would be “valuable” and “worthwhile.” It would lead to a more efficient and effective way of determining how the Town will allocate capital expenses.

“We may be able to capture more projects with less money over a longer period of time,” Mr. Ogburn suggested, adding that the Town has projected the expenditure of $40 million over 30 years for capital improvements.

Both Mr. Neal and Mr. Ogburn are looking toward financial planning to cover road improvements and repairs for the next 10 to 20 years. (Mr. Neal said 10 to 15 years; Mr. Ogburn said 20.)

As long as the Town Council and Town staff keep the public informed of their discussions and intentions, we will not be confused.

NO WORKSHOP MEETING: The Town made official today the cancellation of the Council’s Dec. 15 workshop session. The Town Council will meet next at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2021.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 12/7/20

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