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Advance construction for downtown Salisbury paving starts Monday, will last three weeks

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Downtown construction spanning approximately three weeks is expected to begin Monday along Main and Innes streets in preparation for North Carolina Department of Transportation’s visit in September to repave the streets.

It will take place every night, except Sundays, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Salisbury City Council members on Tuesday approved a contract with Charlotte-based STS Cable Services in the amount of $146,661 plus incidentals to install 2-inch stub duct conduit along Main and Innes streets in preparation for NCDOT’s resurfacing endeavor in September. City Engineer Wendy Brindle said modifications are needed to the traffic signals along that downtown stretch.

In March, council members approved a two-phased Downtown Main Street Plan for a 10-block stretch of Main Street. NCDOT’s visit to resurface and restripe the area comprises the first phase of the project, which will include reducing the total number of lanes from four to three and providing a center turn lane for left turns onto Innes Street from Main Street. Additionally, the plan changes parking from the current, shallow, 30-degree angle to 45 degrees, the same angle planned for the North Church Street side of Bell Tower Green Park.

Each block would have a yellow arrow for left turns. Protected left turns in the form of green arrows would be used in the Square to maximize pedestrian safety.

“In preparation for the change in striping on Main Street, we have to make some modifications to traffic signals,” Brindle said. “Our signal infrastructure in ground and the mastheads are very old. There’s just essentially no room to pull new wires through that are required for these upgrades.”

Bids for the project opened on July 8, with STS Cable Services quoting the lowest cost. ALS quoted $206,560, while Carolina Conduit Systems quoted $365,000.

The project also includes the installation of conduit at the intersections of Main and Bank and Main and Council streets. Brindle said city staff are requesting the construction begin at the intersection of Main and Bank streets and work its way toward Council Street. She said installation at these locations will allow for signal cable and communication fiber infrastructure in the future to go under Main Street without having to ruin the newly paved streets.

Brindle said the work must be completed by Sept. 1 per instruction from the NCDOT, which plans to restripe after the Cheerwine Festival scheduled for Sept. 18.

Council members expressed dissatisfaction with NCDOT’s insistence that the work must be conducted at night.

“This is ridiculous,” council member Tamara Sheffield said during the meeting. “We’re asking people for three weeks, except for three Sundays, to not sleep. Anybody who lives there, this is at their feet.”

Brindle said the NCDOT won’t allow for the work to be conducted on roads during the daytime due to the volume of traffic along those streets. She added that the city doesn’t have sufficient detour routes for that amount of traffic.

“I think they will work as best as they can to keep the noise down,” said City Manager Lane Bailey. “But the other thing is, besides the traffic mitigation, you’d also be shutting down businesses in the downtown area for three weeks, too, if you do that. It’s not a good solution either way, but that’s part of the trade-off.”

Sheffield said she feels there could be another solution and called the inconvenience “needed and awful all at the same time.”

“It’s not only going to be loud. It’s going to be extra loud during normal sleeping hours,” she added.

Mayor Karen Alexander asked if only certain portions of the street could be closed off as they work, but Brindle said the NCDOT was “adamant” about the stipulations of construction. Both Main and Innes streets are maintained by NCDOT.

Sheffield said the city needs to ensure contact about the construction is made with all downtown merchants and residents. Brindle said the city is working to get the word out. Alexander requested the communication include that the construction stipulations come from NCDOT and not the city.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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