Water Street construction set to finish by mid-July

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Construction on Water Street in Downtown Wilmington may be nearing completion after four years.

The City of Wilmington, in collaboration with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, has been making improvements from Market Street to Red Cross since 2017. CFPUA focusing on underground infrastructure and the city working to improve the pedestrian experience.

Most of the project is complete, running from Grace Street to Red Cross Street, but the block in front of Water Street Center is still closed.

“While crews have finished installing the sewer lines, they’re wrapping that up,” City Spokesman Dylan Lee said. “They’ll be installing the water lines very shortly and then they can cover up the hole that’s required for that infrastructure.”

Lee says once that is complete, the city can begin the streetscape work.

“Which involves new paving, new sidewalks, granite curbs, brick pavers, benches, new landscaping, street lighting, brick crosswalks, things like that,” Lee said.

Along the way, Lee says there have been emergency bulkhead repairs and other construction projects like the River Place development, so there’s been a hopscotch approach to the construction.

“The reason for that is to avoid having to tear up the same section twice,” Lee said. “There’s a lot of coordination between the city and the utility authority but adjacent construction such as River Place and the Coast Guard work.”

The Coast Guard work is the bulkhead repair in front of the Federal Courthouse at Riverfront Park. The last the spokesman heard from the Coast Guard, that project was set to finish by the end of the year. Once that is complete, he says the city will do streetscape work on that section of Water Street as well.

Shops along Water Street remain open and they’re a little frustrated by the prolonged process, some say it’s severely hurting their business, but Lee says the improvements are important for the growth the area is seeing.

“Water Street is already special, but it’s going to be better than ever,” Lee said.

If all goes as planned, Lee says the project will finish by mid-July.

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