WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The much-anticipated re-paving of Castle Street in Wilmington has caused unexpected problems for small businesses along the street.
The repaving began on Jan. 13 and is expected to wrap up next week. Paving is taking place between Third and 16th streets.
But a potential misunderstanding has left business owners disappointed.
“It’s been a ghost town over here, we’ve had maybe one sale per day,” said Matt Keen, the owner of Gravity Records.
Keen says Castle St. business owners were under the impression that one lane of the street would be open at all times, but Keen says that was not the case Thursday.
“I’m very grateful that they’re finally paving the street over here. There’s been enough patching of potholes and no patches of potholes that it had to happen. I just wish they had stuck by what they had said of them leaving a lane open at all times and us not having to close,” he said.
A news release sent out by the city of Wilmington about the repaving project on Jan. 13 stated “work to repave Castle Street from South 3rd Street to South 16th Street starts this week. Work is expected to continue over the next two weeks with intermittent lane closures, but two-way traffic is expected to be maintained at all times. Access to businesses and residences will also remain open at all times.”
Keen says business owners were under the impression that would be the case, but city spokesperson Dylan Lee said due to the nature of the project, street closures can be part of the process.
“The paving operation can be disruptive. For the most part, we’re able to maintain traffic with a flagger operation so there would be one lane open and traffic would have to stop and wait for oncoming to come through then they get their turn to come through so there are some delays. In addition, the nature of the equipment you’ve got to take a detour around the block or so to allow the paving truck which is quite large to get through and do its work,” Lee said.
Things were mostly back to normal Friday and Lee says work should be completed next week.
“It is most definitely a short-term disruption for some of the people who are trying to park or some of the businesses on the street and we regret that but this is going like all our other paving operations go,” Lee said.
Keen says he wishes they would have been more clear about the process so he could have planned for the disruption.
“Over the last week, our sales have definitely been down, I’ve definitely seen less people wanting to come over here, I’ve had customers complaining about it but the last two days in particular have been very, very difficult,” he added.