Construction continues on Queen Street

Construction continues on Queen Street

Queen Street repairs photos by William "Bud" Hardy / Neuse News.

Even though the cones are down, the Queen Street project is still underway.

While the water and sewer line projects have been completed for the most part, except for a few punch list items, there is still more work to be done to complete the project.

City Manager Tony Sears said officials recently met with the engineering firm about putting the design together.

“We have an idea that the total Cadillac version of the project is about $4.6 million and the city has $3 million to put towards the project,” Sears said. “So that meeting was really about breaking that out price-wise so we can find out what’s the best way to get the most bang for our buck on the $3 million.”

Sears said officials hope to bring a more definitive plan to the city council in September for a final approval.

“Our goal at this point is to start construction on Queen Street around January,” Sears said.

Kinston City Councilman Robbie Swinson IV said the council is excited about the project.

“We’re not doing the Cadillac version but, we are doing the version that is most economical for us and we are looking forward to getting it underway,” Swinson said.

The new construction project is still in the design stage but residents would see the repaving by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, trees, curb work, mid-grade crossing and mid-block crossings throughout the construction process.

“The construction we will be doing will not be anywhere near as invasive as the utility work,” Sears said.

Officials say the project can be completed anywhere from 90-120 days.

“We don’t think it will be where we have to close down sections of Queen Street like we did for the construction,” Sears said.

The construction people will see is mostly sidewalk work which officials say shouldn’t affect the traffic pattern.

Swinson said the council is content with what they’ve been presented with so far by the city manager and the planning department.

Timeline of project

Last Month: Officials met with engineers

September:  Bringing designs to Kinston City Council for approval

January: Construction begins

“I think everyone is excited and ready to move it forward,” Swinson said.

The City of Kinston and the state Department of Transportation will also be converting the parallel parking to diagonal parking so that citizens have more parking in downtown Kinston. The streetscape project to convert Queen Street to a two-way road with diagonal parking has been in the works for nearly three years.

“The other thing we have to do is to go a little bit further with our construction plans and then have a sit down with DOT to merge these projects together,” Sears said.

Sears said the Queen Street streetscape is about more than just beautification.

“We really are trying to find a product that meets a lot of the expectations people have for Queen Street,” Sears said. “People understand what the economic benefit ultimately is going to be and if this comes out the way we want it to, then it's going to be a driver to bring people downtown and encourage the redevelopment.

"It's an economic driver."

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