CULLOWHEE – Traffic patterns on the Western Carolina University campus will undergo a major change during the week of May 9-13 as a barricade is erected on the existing Centennial Drive and a new Centennial Drive becomes the main thoroughfare through campus.
The barricade will be installed on the existing Centennial Drive in front of Dodson Cafeteria and near the old Centennial Drive-Forest Hills Road intersection, said John Austin, project manager in Western’s Office of Facilities Management.
Motorists who enter the main campus entrance from N.C. 107 will still go left at the traffic circle if their destination is the central part of campus, but motorists heading to the “upper” part of campus or passing through campus will go right at the traffic circle and follow the new Centennial Drive all the way to the Central Drive (Wachovia Bank) intersection, Austin said.
The new Centennial Drive is still under construction, and traffic on that route will be diverted or stopped for short periods of time to accommodate construction activity, Austin said. The new Centennial Drive consists of portions of what used to be Catamount Road, Belk Lane and Forest Hills Road.
Construction on the new Centennial Drive is expected to be complete by early August.
After the barricade on the existing Centennial Drive goes up, motorists heading from the main campus entrance to the parking lots at Reid Gymnasium and Coulter Building should continue to go left at the traffic circle and follow the existing Centennial Drive . Motorists heading from the main campus entrance to the parking lots between McKee and Killian buildings will use the new Centennial Drive and the access road that passes between McKee and Killian buildings, Austin said. Motorists also can access parking between McKee and Killian buildings from Memorial Drive.
There will be no access from the Coulter parking lot to the parking at McKee and Killian buildings.
Due to road construction and the replacement of a main steam line, the parking area in front of Forsyth Building will be closed through the summer, along with a section of the Coulter Building parking lot, Austin said.
During construction, the parking area between the Cash Points automatic teller machine and the shops on Centennial Drive will be restricted, but access to that area and the automatic teller machine will be maintained.
One goal of Western’s 10-year master plan is the elimination of traffic flow from the center of campus to enhance pedestrian safety. Upcoming construction projects include the removal of the existing Centennial Drive from the center of campus and conversion of the entire area between Reid Gymnasium, A.K. Hinds University Center, Coulter Building and Dodson Cafeteria into a natural and pedestrian space.