An Orange Water and Sewer Authority construction project on East Rosemary between Henderson and Hillsborough Streets is part of a project to maintain reliable water services, said Jeremy Fireline, utilities engineer for OWASA.
“Some of the pipe dates back to the 1930s and needs to be replaced,” Fireline said. “The overall project, which began in the spring of 2016 included replacing water pipes on part of Henderson Street.”
Bo Stump, East Rosemary Street resident and graduate student at Kenan-Flagler Business School, said he has been able to drive back to his home since construction began, but it’s been confusing at times.
“You never really know which way you can get in by car, so it’s kind of funny,” he said.
“I’ll try to take a left down here on this street and half the time it’ll be blocked off, so I’ll have to do this elaborate U-turn and go down to the other end of the street — I mean it’s a little annoying.”
Courtney Sheets, a UNC junior who lives at the Alpha Chi Omega house on East Rosemary Street, said the construction on Rosemary is only an inconvenience during the day, but does cause issues.
“It’s hard to pull out because of the construction, so sometimes it’s hard to see and that definitely causes some issues to safety,” she said.
Shelby Light, another UNC junior who lives at the Alpha Chi Omega house, said the construction has forced her to change her path to class and has caused other problems.
“Sometimes both ends of Rosemary will be blocked — during move-in they were doing construction and blocking off the street, so I just asked them to stop so I could get in,” she said.
“I kind of made a scene about it and asked them to move the cones and let me in — so they’re nice about it if we ask, but it is a pretty big inconvenience.”
Fireline said members of the community who would be affected by the construction were notified by mailings, a community event in April and individual on-site meetings. However, neither Stump nor Light knew the purpose of the construction.
The OWASA construction, which has an expected completion date of March 2017, isn’t the only project affecting local residents on East Rosemary Street.
The Rosemary Street Public Improvement project is aimed at improving the curb, gutter, driveway and sidewalks along East and West Rosemary Street.
The project is substantially complete and most of the remaining work is slated to be completed by December.
Chapel Hill isn’t alone in construction inconveniences.
Carrboro is also in the beginning phases of building a new development off South Greensboro Street, where progress on the project has stalled until the N.C. Department of Transportation finishes work on storm water pipes beneath the street.
The proposal for South Greeen was approved by the Carrboro Board of Aldermen in June 2015. The owner, Woodhill NC, LLC, is working to secure tenants for the shopping center.
South Green is planned to be 40,000 square feet of shops, with a shared free parking lot for customers.
Pat Garavaglia, a Carrboro resident who will be affected by the development, said nothing has been done to the site for some time.
“There has been a huge lake that has formed because of the five and a half inches of rain that we got, and another thing that I’ve noticed is that there are a ton of mosquitoes in our yard now,” she said.
Garavaglia is set to lose one percent of her yard and will have her driveway moved due to the construction.
The street will also be raised four feet in order to make room for a roundabout, which Garavaglia said she has safety concerns about.
“I am just concerned about a roundabout being where it is — coming down a hill. I’ve never seen a roundabout on a hill,” Garavaglia said.
“I’ve already had four or five cars and a bus in my yard in the years that I’ve lived there and I don’t think people know how to deal with roundabouts.”
The South Green development project won’t restart work on the site until the complete installation of a storm water pipe, estimated for April 2017.
“Construction moves slowly,” Garavaglia said.