Updated: Mar 9, 2019
- By Caroline Crofton -
In March, the traffic lights came down. Then the real construction began: three roundabouts will be opened on Hillsborough Street.
“The city will close several blocks on Hillsborough Street and will be developing a new traffic pattern,” said project manager, Richard Dickie. The new $17.5 million dollar roundabouts are currently under construction at the intersections of Brooks Avenue, Dixie Trail and Shepard Street. Richard Kelly, the City of Raleigh director for construction and roadway management, said the roundabout project has been underway for three years. “Traffic engineers have proven in studies that roundabouts slow traffic down while keeping it moving at a steady pace. They are much safer than traditional traffic lights,” said Kelly. New traffic patterns will include one-way turns and medians along Hillsborough Street to calm traffic.
Residents and businesses in the area are struggling to work around the project. A month into the construction with three months left, retailers are hurting. It has been hard for businesses to get customers in their doors. “Luckily, we are near N.C. State’s campus and we get a lot of students that walk here, so the project is not affecting them as much as commuters,” said Kevin Guido, owner of East Village Grill. “Residents are having to leave 15 minutes earlier than usual or find an alternative route besides Hillsborough Street,” said Dan Gray, who lives on Everett Avenue.
The construction should be completed by May according to Dickie. The new roundabouts will include buried utility lines, new sidewalks, bike lanes, medians and street lights. Traffic is now flowing through outside lanes. The old Hillsborough Street was stop and go with traffic lights. Driving down the old Hillsborough Street, there were traffic lights almost every 500 feet. “Although this is costing the city time and money, the end result will be the evolution of Hillsborough Street,” Dickie said.