The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 8th

Workers Lay Foundation For New South Campus

A construction update by the UNC Department of Housing and Residential Education said major earthmoving work has been finished at the communities adjacent to Morrison, Craige and Ehringhaus residence halls.

But Ed Willis, director of construction management, said there is no definite completion time slated for the foundation construction because the work is not completed in specific phases.

"We really don't measure it in that great of detail," he said. "All of these activities will overlap."

The installation of electrical and telephone duct banks at the Hinton James Residence Hall site also will continue this week.

"The previous electrical duct bank is currently on the footprint of the new building," Willis said.

The work will create additional inconveniencies for pedestrians, however. The steam line that runs along Manning Drive currently protrudes above a section of sidewalk and will require a temporary safety ramp for students to cross.

But the work is expected to finish this week and a portion of the sidewalk will be reopened.

The temporary fence extending to Hinton James driveway is expected to be removed by Jan. 22.

Students attempted to tear down the fence in November, protesting what they felt was superfluous construction, although the fence was swiftly restabilized.

But the fence's implementation reflected the construction's potential safety concerns. As campus development persists, new projects are being proposed to ensure the protection of South Campus residents.

The Hinton James Residence Hall Association submitted a petition adorned with 600 South Campus resident signatures to Director of Housing Christopher Payne, advocating a new crosswalk across Manning Drive at the Ehringhaus service entrance.

Payne recently submitted the petition and a letter of support to the N.C. Department of Transportation, but officials do not know when to expect a response from NCDOT representatives.

Rebecca Casey, assistant director of marketing, said a similar petition was proposed when the four high rises were constructed. She said the NCDOT's arguments against the crosswalk are still the same.

"Traffic does move fairly rapidly on Manning Drive," Casey said. "Students have a false sense of security when they see a crosswalk."

She said safety is not the only issue. Installation of a crosswalk midblock would be cause major traffic congestion on Skipper Bowles Drive.

Jon Thompson, a freshman Hinton James resident, advocates a crosswalk to accommodate current pedestrian traffic.

"Students are crossing there anyway at least 95 percent of the time," he said. "(Officials) are not really providing us incentive to do anything else."

But Casey said the department is working efficiently to address students' concerns. "We really do welcome any input from students living on South Campus."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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