Construction causes concern as school year draws closer
Right now, crews are working on a large water and sewer system redevelopment project near the intersection of Clarendon Avenue and Fifth Street right behind Carolina Beach Elementary School. (Source: WECT)
CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) -
School starts in less than two weeks in Carolina Beach, but there are concerns about whether a road project will be finished in time so that it does not impact kids getting to class.
Crews are working on a large water and sewer system redevelopment project near the intersection of Clarendon Avenue and Fifth Street, right behind Carolina Beach Elementary School.
Town Councilman and parent Steve Shuttleworth is keeping a close eye on the work.
"You got all this equipment and construction and materials laying around and you're concerned as a parent and as a resident for safety reasons and hoping the project gets done," Shuttleworth said.
This is a project that's been in the works for quite some time; however, there's a lot more work to do before the heavily traveled roads nearby are passable again.
Behind the school, crews continue work on the first phase.
The multi-million dollar project will provide upgrades to the towns outdated sewer and water piping, improve storm drainage along the streets, and eventually provide better water quality for residents.
The scope of the work covers virtually the entire town; with construction slated to be done on Clarendon avenue from Dow Road to Fourth Street, on Fifth Street from Clarendon Avenue to Cape Fear Boulevard, and on Cape Fear Boulevard from Canal Drive to Sixth Street.
Some have questioned why the work behind the elementary school wasn't done first, but Shuttleworth explained that the construction crews have to work in order for the project to be completed properly.
"This portion is directly in the middle from one end to the other," Shuttleworth said. "You can't start a project in the middle. You have to start at the top and work your way down."
Another reason for the delay is Mother Nature.
"I think we had 10 inches of rain in July so these guys worked a Yeoman's job," Shuttleworth said. "Five days a week through the rain and the weekends putting in extra days and I'm sure they'll get it done."
The developer for the project, State Utility Contractors, Inc., and the Carolina Beach Town Council says they are confident that the work will be complete before school starts back on August 26. However, Shuttleworth says it's important to have a back up plan.
"We're not going to wait until the last minute," Shuttleworth said. "If the work isn't done, we will discuss it with the contractor and make accommodations to make sure that parents and bus drivers can get the kids to school."
The first phase of the work is slated to be finished by August 22, four days before school starts.
A spokesperson for NHC Schools said the district is also confident that the construction behind the elementary school will be complete. However, the school system is prepared to work with town leaders as well as the Carolina Beach Police Department to develop alternative routes for drivers if needed.
The entire revampment project is scheduled to be finished by March of 2015.