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Commuters view roadwork delays as worthwhile

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A portion of Greenville Boulevard is closed near 14th Street on Oct. 11, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Greenville motorists on Wednesday tolerated bumper-to-bumper traffic near the intersection of Greenville Boulevard and East 14th Street as work crews replaced a railroad crossing.

Drivers will have to put up with the conditions at least through Friday, a N.C. Department of Transportation officials said.

Crews working on resurfacing Greenville Boulevard have closed a portion of the road between East 14th Street and Brownlea Drive so crews can repair the crossing, according to Sarah Lentine, senior assistant resident engineer with the Pitt County office of NCDOT. The work, being done by Carolina Coastal Railway, is being completed as quickly as possible, Lentine said. 

Traffic on 14th Street north of Greenville Boulevard was backed up beyond Peppermint Park, where a detour turned left onto Brownlea Drive and turned back to the boulevard. South of Greenville Boulevard, 14th Street was bumper to bumper to Red Banks Road and beyond.

“The backups show how much traffic moves along the boulevard, but it’s really not having that big of an impact on my commute,” Chris Hill of Greenville said while filling his tank at the Speedway station at the intersection of Greenville Boulevard and East 14th. “Instead of driving the two more blocks to where I turn to get to Elmhurst School, I turn right here to get there, so it’s not that much of a difference.

“I like the fact that they’ve been doing most of the paving at night,” Hill said. “Then I show up the next morning and see they laid down another strip of asphalt. So kudos to NCDOT for that.”

Cathleen Swain, who lives in the Quail Ridge neighborhood near Fire Tower Road, read about the roadwork in The Daily Reflector and decided to brave the traffic.

“It worked out OK, and now I’ll have a nicely paved Greenville Boulevard in a few days,” Swain said. “It’s progress to me.”

Commuter Meghan Getz declared herself unperturbed by this week’s traffic conditions.

“I avoid driving on Greenville Boulevard at all costs, anyway,” Getz . “It’s not interfering with my commute.”

Patrick Uhlman stopped for gas at Speedway on the way to his home just off of 14th Street north of Greenville Boulevard. His mother also lives off of 14th, but south of the boulevard, he said.

“I come through here all the time. Best as I can see, it only adds a few minutes to my drive, so it’s a noticeable inconvenience but not a huge impact and it should be a big improvement,” Uhlman said.

The Kangaroo gas and convenience station sits at the intersection of Greenville Boulevard and East 14th, where traffic was most affected. Its entryway on 14th Street remains accessible, but the driveway in and out on Greenville Boulevard was within the closed area.

“Business has dropped more than 50 percent today,” said the manager, who did not wish to use his name. “People don’t want to take detours.”

He was pleased, however, with the response he got from the railroad work crew foreman, who came in to buy something.

“I told him he’s going to kill my business,” the manager said. “He said it’s true that I’ll lose some business for three days, but when they finish, the road around my store will be like new and it will improve my business traffic and be easier on my car and those who drive in and out of my lot. It still hurts, but it makes sense.”

The $2-million contract to resurface the length of Greenville Boulevard Between Memorial Drive and East 10th Street is part of the state’s general resurfacing fund.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9507.

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