Road closures for the next few months in the newest phase of the Town Creek Culvert construction project are affecting local businesses and resulting in traffic confusion in Uptown Greenville.
Director of Public Works, Kevin Mulligan, said Reade Circle and Cotanche Street will be closed for four months due to construction on the Town Creek Culvert.
The city of Greenville is working to open the pedestrian detour between Chico’s and the West End of East Carolina University’s main campus.
“They’re looking to see what we can do to accelerate that so that part may only be a couple months and we’re looking to open up that walkway where the speed humps are right now, that crosswalk, certainly sooner than the four months I just talked about,” Mulligan said.
Construction is currently moving south along Reade Circle and Cotanche Street was closed on Monday. The section from the Chico’s parking lot on Reade Street to the south of Fifth Street to the end of Cotanche Street will remain closed for four months.
After the end of January 2020, construction will move to the intersection of Evans Street. The Town Creek Culvert project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.
Yvonne Perry, operations manager at University Book Exchange (U.B.E.), said she believes their business may be affected slightly due to customers not being able to walk from dorms at West End on East Carolina University’s campus to U.B.E.
Perry said students who live at West End, which is located directly in front of the construction area, will now have more difficulty accessing the Uptown area due to the closure of Reade Circle and Cotanche Street.
“That (road closures) I do think especially will affect the traffic that normally would walk to us,” Perry said.
Perry said the amount of pedestrian traffic the store experiences varies depending on the seasons, but around this time of year, she said she believes traffic to the store is about 25% pedestrian and 75% by vehicle.
The best way to access U.B.E. and others around them, according to Perry, is by taking Evans Street to Fifth Street and accessing Cotanche Street from there.
“Evans Street is our lifeline right now,” Perry said.
Perry said there is one barricade located in the road at Cotanche Street and Fifth Street but cars are still able to come down the street. She said this is causing confusion among drivers who were used to being able to drive down Cotanche Street the past month.
Perry said the confusion is apparent because drivers are now using U.B.E. and Chico’s parking lot to turn around in so drivers do not run into the construction at Reade Circle.
“I’ve watched some of the traffic, and they are so confused,” Perry said. “I feel that’s the people who are trying to find their way around Uptown Greenville right now.”
Perry said, although the closure is projected to last three to four months, she hopes people will continue to be patient and businesses will not be affected too drastically. She said U.B.E. understands this construction is for the improvement of Greenville.
Greer Jones, bartender at Club 519, said the sidewalk closures might be an inconvenience for pedestrian traffic in the future for their business, as well.
“A lot of our business is people walking here on foot, so the sidewalks around us being closed might end up hindering our business,” Jones said.
Jones said she hopes the walkway closures will open sooner than the projected dates to help people access the Uptown area, but in the event the closures do last for three to four months, she believes residents will continue to find ways to walk and drive to the area.
A post on the City of Greenville’s website said that Cotanche Street at Reade Circle was expected to close on Monday, Oct. 7.
The detour for Cotanche and will be on to East Tenth Street, Evans Street and East Fifth Street, the post said.