RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — An end is in sight for a project reshaping the look and flow of Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street, but the finish line is still months away and months behind.
Construction started in June 2016 on the roughly half-mile project, which aims to improve safety, reduce traffic signals, and smooth and slow speeds.
Looking ahead, you’ll find public art, bike lanes, raised medians and more roundabouts.
The medians are designed to make the stretch of road more pedestrian-friendly. The project will transform Hillsborough Street from four lanes to two and, among other improvements, the city is adding three roundabouts.
“Those traffic circles were the first ones I’d ever seen in my life and I love them. I think they’re great for moving traffic,” said Chloie Misewicz, who works at Cup-A-Joe, which is in the area where work is focused now.
“It’s been no end in sight. We’re just really ready for it to just be done,” she said.
Todd Chriscoe is general manager of Southern Hospitality, The East Village Grill. He said his business is surviving, but has slacked off at lunchtime.
“It’s frustrating for us. Not only from a business perspective, but I’ve seen a lot of businesses on Hillsborough Street go under. And, it’s a great thing overall for the street, don’t get me wrong, this is much needed, but it’s the growing pains that we’re having to go through,” he said.
His restaurant hosted a meeting from city engineers to update progress, which was scheduled to be complete this month (November 2017).
“Some of the private utilities that didn’t get into the game as quickly as we wanted them to, and that actually held us up a fairly good amount,” said Richard Dickie, senior engineer for the City of Raleigh and project manager for the Hillsborough job.
He said surprises, such as discovering underground tanks, slowed the job and increased costs for the more than $14 million project.
Dickie said the budget accounted for some costs, such as contaminated soil, but did not account for the extent of that issue.
“I know people are getting construction fatigue along Hillsborough Street. I just ask for their patience for a little bit longer, because when we get through, I think people are going to be pretty impressed with this street,” he said.
The project is expected to be completed in the spring, though Dickie said an exact date is not yet clear. He said the city is working with contractors to speed along the process.