Matthews and Mint Hill hope to collaborate on a double-sided sign at the new roundabout at Idlewild and Matthews-Mint Hill roads that will welcome commuters to both towns.
Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor described early renderings as “phenomenal,” while Mint Hill Commissioner Tina Ross called it “plain and simple … not anything real vibrant or exciting.”
Mint Hill Town Manager Brian Welch said the towns had to be measured in their approach since the N.C. Department of Transportation has to sign off on it.
“It gets the point across,” Welch told Ross. “I don’t see a lot of roundabouts that have anything like this in it. It’s really unique from that standpoint.”
Susan Habina Woolard, an engineer with the Town of Matthews, sees the sign as a gateway into both towns.
“We need to be intentional about what we want to do there,” Woolard explained to her commissioners. “It does have a unique position in that it is in the intersection of two NCDOT-maintained roadways, so we have an extra layer of complication.”
The towns have agreed to split the estimated cost of the sign, between $55,000 and $70,000, in hopes their unified front will convince the NCDOT will sign off on the display and allow an encroachment.
Woolard anticipates the process having a lot of back and forth between the two boards and the NCDOT for everyone to feel comfortable about it.
Each side of the sign will vary slightly.
Renderings show the Matthews side reading, “Matthews welcomes you,” while the Mint Hill side says, “Town of Mint Hill.”
Welch told his commissioners the town didn’t have a personalized message because they didn’t want to confuse drivers trying to read the sign.
Each town will use a different style brick, giving each “their own little flavor,” Welch said.
The Matthews side of the monument will use Triangle Brick’s “full color antique” style, while Mint Hill’s side will incorporate Palmetto Brick’s “Hampton Modular” style.
“We got better bricks than Matthews,” Ross quipped.
Both towns hope to incorporate some landscaping with the sign.
Woolard also sees opportunities to improve the lighting as drivers approach the roundabout, so they can better see pedestrians in the crosswalk and ensure they are getting in the correct lane.
While the sign is going to block the other side of the intersection, Woolard assured her commissioners this would not be a negative. She described looking at the other side of a roundabout as “almost too much information” because you can’t predict if that driver is going to turn right, stay straight or continue traveling past you to make left or U-turn.
The S.C. Department of Transportation offers these tips for drivers encountering a roundabout:
• SLOW DOWN when approaching a roundabout.
• SELECT the correct lane. For multi-lane roundabouts, stay left if you intend to make a left or U-turn.
• WATCH for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
• WATCH for bicyclists and allow them to merge into the entry lane.
• YIELD to traffic already in the roundabout.
• MERGE into the traffic flow when it is safe.
• DO NOT STOP in the roundabout except to avoid a collision.
• DO NOT PASS other vehicles.
Visit www.scdot.org/getting/roundabout_nav.aspx for more tips.