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Making the connection: Work on track; road closures coming

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Large beams loom over Dickinson Avenue and 10th Street where the future site of the 10th street connector is being built on March 24, 2016. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)

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Shannon Keith

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pilings rising near the Dickinson Avenue intersection with the future 10th Street Connector are sure signs that construction is on track for what’s expected to be a transformative project in Greenville.

NCDOT officials said work on the $46 million project to provide a modern multi-lane connection between East Carolina University and the city’s medical district is proceeding on schedule despite a rainy winter. One of the lead engineers last week outlined progress and expected disruptions that will be caused by the work, scheduled for completion in May 2019.

“The project is about 10 percent complete,” N.C. Department of Transportation Engineer Cadmus Capehart said. ”Wet weather this winter had an impact putting in storm drainage, but crews were able to speed things up due to spring coming a little early.”

Construction for the $46 million connector began in September. The 1.4-mile boulevard will stretch from Memorial Drive over Dickinson Avenue to 10th Street at Evans Street. It will widen symmetrically down Farmville Boulevard before rising over the Dickinson Avenue railroad tracks, where the bridgework is rising.

The construction project was awarded to S.T. Wooten of Wilson. Capehart said in addition to erecting pilings, workers also have been busy with an extensive drainage project that has to be built as well as relocating water, sewer and gas lines along the connector.

“We haven’t hit any major snags,” Capehart said. “We knew there would have to be modifications to existing utilities, but that was anticipated before the project started. The weather has been the biggest factor in working on the bridge and putting in storm drainage.”

Property acquisition for the connector began in 2012. More than 30 businesses were displaced, and almost all were small local businesses — some had been in the same location for 50 years or more before they were given no choice but to leave their properties for whatever compensation they were provided. More than 150 total properties were acquired for the connector.

Multimodal amenities including bike lanes, sidewalks and other features will be included in the project. While the 10th Street Connector is a N.C. Department of Transportation project, the city is responsible for paying for improvements like sidewalks, streetlights, landscaping and the Evans Street gateway streetscape.

Part of Greenville’s $15.85 million bond referendum is $1.75 million for those improvements. NCDOT will complete the work and the city will reimburse the department. Funds are due to the NCDOT at completion of the connector.

While the project eventually will lead to the temporary closing of some roads, Capehart said construction has not had much effect on local traffic.

“It’s not been too bad yet,” Capehart said. ”Most of the construction has been outside of existing roadways. We’ve had some one-lane closures, but I haven’t heard of any major impact on traffic in the city.”

Capehart said that crews are working away from traffic as much as possible during the early stages of the project and will divert traffic to the newly built lanes before working on existing roadways.

“We will try to keep traffic flowing,” he said. ”We’ve planned the different stages of construction to try and make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Capehart said the only time a major roadway will be closed will be when crews have to lay pipes across Memorial Drive near Stantonsburg Road and Farmville Boulevard. Crews will close the road during nighttime hours during that stage of construction.

“That’s still a few months away,” Capehart said. ”When we get to that stage, we will get the word out as much as possible and let people know well in advance so they can prepare.”

 

Contact Shannon Keith at skeith@reflector.com and 329-9579.

 

By the numbers

• September 2015: construction started

• May 2019: expected completion

• 1.4 miles: length of connector

• $46 million: cost of project

• 150: properties acquired for project

• More than 30: businesses displaced by project

• $1.75 million: cost to city

 

More than 150 properties were acquired for the 10th Street connector by the NCDOT, including businesses and institutions listed below. Many of them have relocated.

Kangaroo Express

Verizon

Greenville Cleaning Laundromat

Scott’s Cleaners

Down East Laundromat

Hardee and Cox Welding

Riddle and Sons HVAC

New Beginnings Church

Moore Auto Body

Electric Motor Sales

House of Prayer of Heart to Give

Pugh’s Tire Warehouse

Limelight Bar

East Coast Pawn

Breakthrough Revival

Unlimited Cuts

Lasting Impressions

Bob’s Haircuts

Love Ministries

Victory Deliverance Center

Hope of Glory

Food Bank of Eastern N.C.

Pollard and Sons Plumbing

Quick Ink Refill

David Walker Agency

Trade Wilco

Computer Peripherals

Greenville Awning and Neons

End Times Church

Midtown Grocery

Airmania

Iglesia De Cristo

Fusion Surf and Skate

Nostalgia News Stand

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