A busy section of Pine Street in Mount Airy will be closed temporarily beginning next week due to road construction near Reeves Community Center, which is requiring a detour.
“This is a DOT project, but it will affect the traffic pattern in our area,” city Parks and Recreation Director Catrina Alexander explained regarding the work. It is part of an overall N.C. Department of Transportation effort to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of Pine and Renfro streets where the center is located.
The upcoming project will require the closing of East Pine Street between Main Street and Riverside Drive. The closure is to go into effect during the week of July 17, although no specific date was given, with the work expected to take about a week and a half to complete.
A detour route has been announced to temporarily divert both eastbound and westbound traffic away from the Pine-Renfro intersection.
The prescribed route for eastbound traffic at Main Street calls for turning right onto South Main and then making a left on Cherry Street to reach South Renfro Street.
Westbound traffic approaching the city from East Pine Street (N.C. 103) will turn right onto Riverside Drive, proceed to East Independence Boulevard and make a left onto that street.
In addition, access will be provided into the lower parking lot of Reeves Community Center from Riverside Drive, using Gilmer Street.
Smith-Rowe, LLC, a Mount Airy company, is the prime contractor for the project, which will involve milling, paving, signal work, concrete work and other facets, according to Jody Phillips, vice president of the firm.
Plans to address pedestrian safety concerns at the intersection of Pine and Renfro streets have been in the works since the winter of 2013.
Users of Reeves Community Center rely on that crossing to go to and from outlying parking spaces, but pedestrians have been struck by vehicles in recent years at the high-traffic spot.
An agreement between the city and Department of Transportation which was approved by Mount Airy officials in May 2015 calls for safety improvements including the installation of pedestrian signals, curb ramps and crosswalks.
That agreement further included the preparation of project plans and specifications by the DOT, which also will administer the construction contract and be responsible for all traffic operating controls and devices installed at the intersection.
The municipality committed to making sidewalk modifications and signage to guide pedestrians in a safer manner. The city government also assumed responsibility for relocating, adjusting or repairing all utility poles affected by the project and obtaining necessary rights of way.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.