Water Street slated to reopen to two-way traffic in early May

Construction on Water Street
Construction started back in April and business owners near the construction say it's affected profits. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The city and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority have nearly completed replacing aging water and sewer pipes under the ground in Water Street between Chestnut and Grace streets.

The city says work will stop for Azalea Festival and will resume next week with completion of this phase expected early next month.

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This is one phase of a multi-phased and much-needed project to upgrade utilities beneath Water Street from Market Street north to Red Cross Street, according to the city.

Work on the current phase began in early 2018 and was initially scheduled to be completed in mid-2018.

Completion of this phase has been delayed by several factors.

“First, crews were working to install sewer pipes some 12 feet underground during 2018, a year that the city experienced a record 100+ inches of rain,” the city wrote in a news release. “Second, when CFPUA officials were inspecting the newly placed sewer pipe this fall, they found the required slope of the pipe did not meet CFPUA and state requirements and it is being re-worked. The contractor doing the work suspects that some soil settled beneath the pipe, perhaps due to the heavy rains.”

The street is slated to be paved and open in early May.

All businesses in the area, including the shops at Water Street Center and the Hotel Ballast, remain open while work is underway.