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ONLY ON 3: 3rd Street project hits bumps in the road

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: 3rd Street project hits bumps in the road

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The construction for the North 3rd Street Improvement Project in Wilmington is well underway. But along the way crews have run into a few bumps in the road... literally. And that means construction could take even longer than expected.

"We've experienced a few weeks of delay at the beginning of the project," Wilmington Transportation Planning Manager Mike Kozlosky said.

The first phase of the North 3rd Street Improvement Project started in August, and crews have already come across a few issues. Commuters in downtown have been caught in the middle.

"You hear a lot of horn blowing and funny hand signals in this type of thing," Jim Baggett of Wilmington said.

Bicyclist Allen Roberts had another perspective.

"It's a bit of a hassle, but nothing that can't be overcome by going down a side street," he said.

Workers recently discovered an underground shelter along with four storage tanks.

"They are in the way of our new water and sewer lines that are being installed," project manager Mike Naklicki said.

The old tanks contain liquids such as gas and oil, which require an environmental engineer to come out and make sure the soil is not contaminated.

"The actual work to remove it, excavate it and take it out takes a couple days, but sometimes you're waiting three to five days for sample results to come back from the lab so we know if we have to take out any more soil or not," Naklicki said.

The city's transportation planning manager says he hopes to make up the time lost from removing the shelter and tanks.

"We are trying to identify opportunities and measures to accelerate to get back to where we anticipated we would be at this time," Kozlosky said.

He says he expects the entire project to be completed in September 2012. Kozlosky says the underground storage tanks will cost $15,000 each to remove. He says that money will come out of the project's contingency funds.

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