The Town of Chapel Hill begins construction on the intersection of North Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Jan. 8.
The project will include “squaring up” the intersection at the corners, as well as adding a traffic signal and marked crosswalks, Alex Carrasquillo, the community safety public information officer for the Town, said.
The intersection is near Fire Station One and the Town Hall. Carrasquillo said that, as an entry point into town, the construction is a good opportunity to enhance the appearance of downtown when visitors and community members pass through.
He said another big reason for the project is the construction for the new parking deck on the north side of East Rosemary street.
“The new parking deck will have an exit that sends drivers toward that intersection,” he said. “So this is an opportunity to look at how projects can complement each other as downtown evolves.”
Carrasquillo said lane closures are expected at times when crews are working, but North Street and MLK Jr. Boulevard will remain open to drivers during construction. A short section of North Columbia Street near the intersection will be closed to drivers during construction, although pedestrians will be able to access the street, he said.
He said drivers will need to use Stephens Street to navigate the North Columbia Street closure, which is the only closure plan for the project.
Sugandh Gupta, a doctoral student at UNC, said construction across town has created an annoyance in getting around, particularly in reaching work.
“I've been stuck there waiting, which has been really, really annoying,” she said. “Especially during critical office hours.”