Parking at UNC is often cited as nothing short of a nightmare — but with the first step of the Craige Parking Deck expansion completed, UNC is one step closer to alleviating the problem.
Craige Deck has been under construction since 2012, but the first level of the deck is scheduled to open Thursday.
Randy Young, spokesman for UNC’s Department of Public Safety, said the second level of the deck has been closed since the summer.
“You can’t drive in at the service entrance and spiral all the way up and go out on Manning Drive,” he said.
“The second level is inaccessible — all entrances are open, but you can’t do anything through the second level.”
Though the full project was initially predicted to wrap up in the summer of 2014, Young said the construction’s completion is now expected in 2015.
He said the latest figure he has for the project’s cost is $33 million — as originally projected in 2012 — and that the same people will be able to use the deck as before.
Young said the University will start work on the top four levels in about a year or less.
“The end project should add four elevated levels, added structure to the deck and about 900 parking spaces plus offices,” he said.
Some UNC employees said they were pleased with the plans to expand.
“I think it would be very helpful,” said contractor Venkata Yelamanchili. “I don’t get to park here, so hopefully they will let me now.”
Young said the deck will remain a student and staff permit parking area, though he is unsure of the price of the permits at this time.
“It will be whatever is comparable with the other deck prices that students pay,” he said.
“All Craige Deck permit holders will have access to any ‘open’ portion of the deck, and Craige Deck permit holders include both students and employees.”
Matthew Billard, a postdoctoral research associate who uses the deck, said he was not even aware that an expansion was taking place.
“I thought they were repairing it, so it wouldn’t fall down,” he said.
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