by Bob Geary
The City Council yesterday approved a $9.9 million contract for the reconstruction of Hillsborough Street (Phase I) between Oberlin Road and Gardner Street. It only took ... how many years?
(A: Here's a story from 2002, three years after the first plan was hatched and the Hillsborough Street Partnership created.)
Phase I of the project includes the first roundabout on Hillsborough Street itself, which will be in front of the NCSU Bell Tower at the Pullen Road intersection. A second, complementary roundabout will be located at Pullen Road and Oberlin Road, a brand-new intersection that will be created by extending Pullen Road across Hillsborough Street through what's now a parking lot. There's already a roundabout on Pullen Road that serves as an entrance to Pullen Park, the Theater in the Park and the west edge of the NCSU campus.
The new street will have a 7-foot wide raised median and two traffic lanes, not four. Left-hand turns will be eliminated, which should -- the engineers tell us -- allow just as much traffic to flow through on two lanes, slowly but steadily, as can now herk and jerk its way through on four. Here's a city summary of the project.
And here, from the Hillsborough Street Partnership website, is a flyover simulation of the project by Kimley-Horn, the designers: Hillsborough Street flyover
The vote on Council was 6-2. Councilor Philip Isley, never a fan, voted no because he thinks it's a waste of money. Councilor Rodger Koopman voted no because he thinks, given the city's revenue shortfalls and looming budget hole, the project should be postponed -- again.