Summer in southern Orange County usually settles into a slower pace, but stops, starts and detours will be aplenty this year.
The results will be worth the pain of more than $9 million in construction and repairs, town officials say. That’s in addition to noise, dust and traffic from private building projects, including Carolina Square, Evolve 1701 and the future AC Hotel by Marriott.
“While we endure the nuisances of road construction, we can also look forward to the infrastructure improvements,” Town Manager Roger Stancil said. “Many of the projects address top community concerns about improving traffic flow, as well as bicycle and pedestrian safety.”
The timing of the work is typical. The town’s population drops off in the summer, because fewer UNC students are around and many families head out of town. The Town Council stops meeting in July and August.
Watch for these projects:
▪ The $1.8 million town bond project will stretch from Merritt Mill Road to Henderson Street; it could continue until late this year
▪ The work includes wider sidewalks with brick amenity strips, street trees, bike racks and trash and recycling containers
▪ Crews will repaint the street after laying new pavement to add extended bike lanes and build new curbs, gutters and driveway ramps
▪ Pedestrian improvements include better sidewalk ramps for people with disabilities, pedestrian-level, LED light fixtures, upgraded crosswalk signals with locator tones, verbal street identification and special arrows and walk signals for the visually impaired
▪ A contractor for the Orange Water and Sewer Authority will work at the same time to replace water pipes and meters in the area of East Rosemary, Henderson and Hillsborough streets.
▪ Hillsborough Street will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday from May through August. Rosemary Street from Hillsborough to Henderson streets will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday from late September to March.
▪ The $1.62 million project will bring major changes to the area around Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard; the state Department of Transportation is expected to reimburse the town for the work
▪ Expect lane closures between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or at night through October
▪ Ephesus Church Road and the entrance to Eastgate shopping center will be realigned
▪ The Eastgate and Rams Plaza service roads at that intersection will be blocked off
▪ Marked pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, sidewalks, an off-road bike and pedestrian path, and bike-activated loops will be installed
▪ A superstreet U-turn across Fordham Boulevard will be extended to the eastern end of the Rams Plaza service road, near Advance Auto Parts, connecting drivers to the Rams Plaza shopping center
▪ AC Hotel: Three houses will be demolished between Church Street and La Residence restaurant on West Rosemary Street when developers break ground on the new AC Hotel by Marriott. Pedestrians will be moved to the south side of Rosemary Street. The work could wrap up by June 2017.
▪ Fiber installation: AT&T gigabit fiber installation will continue, and work on the Google Fiber system will start this year.
▪ Carolina Square: The downtown complex – formerly University Square – is being redeveloped with one 11-story and two five-story buildings. The finished project will include 246 apartments, 159,000 square feet of office space and 42,000 square feet of retail space; an urban park; and 880 parking deck spaces.
▪ Evolve 1701: Construction of 154 apartments is underway at 1701 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., but the project also includes traffic improvements, including new turn lanes, crosswalks, bike-activated loops and a new bike lane
▪ Weaver Crossing: The new Walgreen’s, medical and office buildings at the corner of MLK Jr. Boulevard and Weaver Dairy Road are nearing completion. The developer will be extending the right turn lane on MLK Boulevard.
▪ Ridge Road: Reconstruction from Manning Drive to Stadium Drive; new paving from Stadium Drive to Country Club Road. Traffic will be detoured to Stadium Drive and South Road
▪ Friday Center: Friday Center Drive will be reconstructed; lanes will be closed
▪ Town paving: The roughly $1.4 million project includes Copperline Drive, Elliott Road (from Curtis Road to Franklin Street), North Lakeshore Drive, Market Street, Holly Lane, Edgewater Circle, Weaver Dairy Road Extension (from Lonebrook Drive to Rowe Road), Tenney Circle, Sage Road and Country Club Road. Possible lane closures and delays
▪ State paving: $1.26 million projec includes South Road from Greenwood Road to South Columbia Street, South Columbia Street/U.S. 15-501 from the bridge near Merritt Store to Smith Level Road. Nighttime work from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.