Hillsborough Street construction greets returning students
Posted August 14, 2009 1:56 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2009 7:18 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — As North Carolina State University students return to campus this weekend for the start of a new school year, they must contend with extensive construction along Hillsborough Street.
The city is reworking the street to improve traffic flow and make it more pedestrian friendly. The project calls for building some traffic circles to ease congestion and moving some utilities underground.
Sections of the street have been torn up for months, with traffic sometimes reduced to one lane, alternating between eastbound and westbound traffic.
"Some days, it's OK. Some days, it's like a monster," said Carl McGill, special events coordinator for N.C. State's traffic department. "It's for the improvement of the city of Raleigh, and that area has needed a roundabout probably for many, many years. So we're just going to have to deal with the construction."
Most N.C. State students didn't have to deal with the project during the summer, however. About 4,000 to 5,000 students were expected to move back onto campus this weekend, and city and university officials urged parents and students to use Western Boulevard to get onto the campus.
One dormitory, North Residence Hall, is located on the north side of Hillsborough Street in the heart of the construction zone, and officials said students trying to move into the dorm will need to pack plenty of patience along with their boxes of clothes, linens and supplies while negotiating the slow-moving traffic through the area.
"What we have been waiting on is school to start. During the summer, it really hasn't been an issue. We're just going to have to wait and see," McGill said.
Students said they're already figuring out how best to avoid Hillsborough Street in the months ahead while construction continues.
"I'm just going to try and avoid it as much as possible and cut through other areas," graduate student Stacie McGowan said. "As long as you know where to cut through, it's OK, but if you're not a local, it's hard."
"I foresee lots of traffic," senior Scott Miller said. "It's not even the school year yet, and it's still pretty busy. But I think we'll get through."