GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Major delays in a road construction project at the West Market Street and Guilford College Road intersection have left drivers with a headache and business owners frustrated.
“This is a world-class disaster going on,” said Eric Henriksen, the owner of Triad Homebrew Supply, near the intersection. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Henriksen has seen the orange cones, bumper-to-bumper traffic and slow progress out his storefront window for the past several years.
“It’s an ongoing challenge and it’s certainly affecting business,” he said. “It’s tough on a small business.”
It’s a challenge for Henriksen to get customers in the door since the road construction started in 2018. “They’re obviously struggling trying to get in and out of here. I imagine that impacts their decision to come in.”
Henriksen has seen several close calls as cars speed past his store. He told FOX8 the newly installed retaining wall in front of his store has been hit twice by drivers.
“There is a value to having this volume of traffic generally speaking go past your store,” Henrikson said. “When it’s a traffic jam nobody’s willing to fight that to get there or get out of it to just pop in to say hi.”
According to the Greensboro Department of Transportation, the estimated $8.2 million project is to widen the road, add turn lanes, sidewalks on each side of the intersection and upgrade the traffic signals.
“They’ve almost made the intersection worse,” said Jacob Falzone, who lives near the intersection and drives through it every day for work. “I think it’s more dangerous now because there’s not clearly defined lanes for the turn lanes they installed.”
The Greensboro City Council approved a construction contract with Triangle Grading and Paving, Inc. based in Burlington for more than $4.7 million in June 2017. Construction started in February 2018.
“There have been a number of conflicts in this location that have contributed to the delays,” said Hanna Cockburn, the director of Greensboro Department of Transportation.
Cockburn told FOX8 unexpected delays include the need to move utility lines and performance issues with contractor Triangle Grading and Paving, Inc.
“This project in particular has really underscored the importance of using best value as a bidding procedure versus low bid only,” she said.
A separate inspections contract was approved with Michael Baker Engineering, Inc. for more than $600,000 in June 2017. The contract has been amended twice for an additional $438,112.
Most recently a backorder on railroad seals to be installed by Norfolk Southern Railway is keeping the project from completion.
“Our relationship to the railroad and its relationship to this project is really impacting the ability to make any other improvements until the rail work is complete,” Cockburn said.
She estimates late summer before the intersection will fully open.
Henriksen isn’t holding out hope.
“By the end of the summer I think is a lofty goal,” he said. “I doubt they will get it. There’s nothing in their history that convinces me they will.”
The project is being paid for from a combination of federal, state and city funds.
FOX8 has reached out to Triangle Grading and Paving, Inc. and Norfolk Southern Railway for a comment and have not gotten a response.