Construction on College Hill at East Carolina University started in December 2019 when construction workers blocked off the roads, installed roadway signage and made changes for traffic patterns. However, students will face these obstacles until August 2020.
Some students who live on College Hill feel frustrated with this construction going on, due to the closeness of the east-end sidewalk, which results in every student on College Hill forced to walk on one sidewalk to get to and from classes.
Project Manager in the Facilities of Engineering, Robert Still said eventually everything will look brand new on the hill even if students have doubts about the current state.
Construction will officially start in a couple weeks once their contract is fully executed, according to Still. Currently, the middle of the road is blocked off, so the eastbound side of the road is now split into two lanes. He said construction will not be complete until August 2020.
“Of course, it’s an inconvenience to those students living on the Hill that have to walk to main campus for classes,” Still said. “There is no interaction on the west-side of the road. In the summer, we’ll close the road in front of Jones for a few weeks to open the crossing back up, but the construction will continue in front of Jones for a couple more months until August.”
Between now and May, the construction workers will work on the west-side of the road all the way up to Jones Residence Hall. All pedestrians and traffic have to travel on the east-side of the road, according to Still.
He said once everything is fixed and cleaned up, traffic will flow better and the work they’re doing now will better impact the streets of ECU. This is just a temporary close and the roads will look brand new once construction is complete.
“This is the first phase of a multiphase project. In a year or two is when phase two will begin, when funding is present and everything is properly scheduled, there will be a third and fourth phase years down the road,” Still said.
These phases include fixing the roads of Jones Residence Hall to Scott Hall, then from Scott through the student area between, Gateway and Todd Dining Hall, according to Still.
Freshman intended nursing major Lauren Dattilo said the construction is frustrating to her because no one has been informed as to why there was all this sudden construction going on and why one side of the road is closed where she lives. Although the construction isn’t right outside her dorm, it is still affects her day to day life.
“It takes a lot more time to walk to classes especially since the sidewalks are overfilled since we can only use one,” Datillo said.
She said there’s only one sidewalk to get to and from class and, which doesn’t feel safe to her because of skateboarders, bicyclists and how everyone walks at different paces. The only way to pass people is to walk on the street, which is sometimes in the middle of traffic.
The sidewalk didn’t look like it needed repairs as soon as possible, according to Datillo. She said she doesn’t understand why they had to start this construction in the middle of the school year. She feels as if she was more informed of the construction, she would‘ve felt more prepared for this change.
“I don’t think I’ll be here to experience the new changes. I’m probably moving off campus next year, but I know it’ll look nice,” Datillo said.
Freshman biology major Jessica Bidwell said the construction on College Hill is actually incredibly crowded and irritating. No one has been informed that this construction was going to start when it did.
She said since the construction hasn’t even started yet, it’ll be crowded and more of an inconvenience when it actually does, but she knows the roads will look better when the construction is finally complete.
“Due to this construction, it takes me about three to five minutes longer to get to class, and the foot traffic is terrible leaving and coming back to the hill,” Bidwell said.
The crosswalks and sidewalks are completely crowded, and the bus stops have changed. There is just too much going on for only one side of the sidewalk to be open, according to Bidwell.
Bidwell said she thinks that the construction will make the streets of ECU better, but she thought the area was fine before. She loved going that way to class every day, so it is disappoints her that it is blocked off. She can’t this construction will last through the summer, Bidwell said.
“I hardly see anything getting done within that area now and there’s already the construction going on in the area around the student center and downtown that is taking forever. I know completing the College Hill construction will also take a while. I’ll be extremely happy once the construction is complete,” Bidwell said.