Road closures due to filming causing inconveniences

  • Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:46 a.m.

SALISBURY — The city and a film production crew pledged Tuesday to have downtown streets open by 7 a.m. this week after filming of “Sleepy Hollow” ran over Monday morning and caused traffic headaches for some commuters.

“They apologized profusely,” city spokeswoman Elaney Hasselmann said of 20th Century Fox, which didn’t wrap up filming until 7:45 a.m. Monday.

About a 12-block area of downtown remained closed during the delay, causing headaches for some commuters, with a few drivers going the wrong way on one-way streets in attempt to get to work and school. Some said conditions were unsafe and ripe for an accident, and signage was lacking.

Filming continues the rest of this week for 20th Century Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” a TV pilot.

Hasselmann said the city has insisted film production wrap up by 7 a.m. every day so roads can reopen to help avoid traffic congestion and confusion.

City crews on Tuesday also added detour signs and adjusted the timing of traffic signals to help alleviate confusion and congestion, Hasselmann said.

Although several people said filming did not interfere with a controversial Rowan County commissioners meeting Monday night, N.C. Rep. Carl Ford said at least 10 people told him they could not find parking or had to park a half-mile away. Some people in wheelchairs gave up and went home, Ford said.

Justin Dionne, who lives downtown, said no one warned downtown residents that they would not be able to come and go from their homes after a certain time.

Dionne, an actor and director, said he has rehearsal until 10 p.m. and has no choice but to park four blocks from his home and walk. Older residents of the Plaza have had to do the same, he said.

“I’m really glad this is happening in our community, and I’m happy for Salisbury,” Dionne said. “But it would’ve been cool for them to talk to and warn the residents who are being kept from accessing parking spaces that we pay for.”

“Sleepy Hollow” crews return to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church tonight and move to the Bell Tower Thursday, where scenic artists have transformed the park by painting the white gazebo black and adding plants and vines, as well as period light fixtures.

They will repaint the gazebo white after the shoot wraps up on Friday.

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