Downtown Streets Close As Crews Change Raleigh Traffic Pattern
Posted July 22, 2006 4:38 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Getting around downtown Raleigh this weekend could be tricky. Late Friday evening, crews shut down sections of Hargett and Martin streets, as a 40-year-old traffic pattern shifts.
The two streets were closed to traffic between Wilmington and Salisbury streets, as road crews complete the job of turning the roadways into two-way streets.
Drivers may need a road map just to navigate their way through downtown this weekend. The city is encouraging people to use other east-to-west corridors like Edenton and Morgan streets.
For downtown businesses in that area, the road closures could be tough on their bottom line this weekend.
"It looks inaccessible and it can be inaccessible with the construction at times," said Ashley Christensen, owner of the Raleigh Times Cafe. "Of course, we're all excited about the final results, so it's worth it."
The road closures and the new traffic patterns are part of the Fayetteville Street Renaissance project. Shalom Rokach opened his clothing store back in 1985 near the corner of Hargett and Wilmington. He said he's ready for the construction to be over.
"When they close that and people try to come in, they see they can't come in, they'll probably leave it alone and go to the mall," said Rokach.
Dean Fox is in charge of the project. He said the latest temporary road closures on Hargett and Martin streets signal the end, for a new beginning is in sight.
"It's not too often that you get this type of project to deal with, particularly one that will have the impetus it would have for the downtown redevelopment of Raleigh," said Fox.
Crews will be working all weekend. Paving will begin on Saturday, and on Sunday workers will re-stripe the roadways and install traffic signals.
Barring any delays like weather or equipment failure, the roadways should reopen to two-way traffic Monday morning.
There's one additional downtown road closure this weekend. Davie Street between Salisbury and McDowell streets is closed, as workers replace the cooling towers for the air conditioning unit at the Public Safety Building.