Work begins to improve Wilmington’s Fifth Avenue

Work begins to improve Wilmington’s Fifth Avenue
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 2:43 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Work is underway to improve a road that runs through part of Wilmington’s historic district. Crews started work on the Fifth Avenue improvement project this week.

The project is expected to last into 2025 and include updates to the road, sidewalk, and water and sewer systems on the road between Market Street and Greenfield Lake.

“Probably the main thing is the is the pavement,” said City of Wilmington Director of Public Services Dave Mayes. “The pavement is in very poor shape. We look across the city at pavement ratings and Fifth Avenue between Market and Greenfield has very poor ratings throughout. And so, this was what really originated the project.”

Mayes says crews will begin by removing dead and dying oak trees from the area before Cape Fear Public Utility Authority can begin to install new water and sewer services.

“Those oak trees are not an appropriate species to live underneath powerlines,” Mayes said. “They’ve been trimmed over the years because of the power lines and they’re also not in good health, they’re dead and they’re dying. So, the first thing that we’re going to do is remove those larger oak trees.”

Afterwards, crews will begin to change the traffic pattern of 5th Avenue. This will include shifting traffic from two lanes to one, thus making room for a bike lane and street parking.

“The traffic volumes don’t warrant having two thru lanes, so we’re going to be changing that to one thru lane in each direction,” said Mayes. “But we’ll be adding a bike lane, so there will be a parking, parking aisle, there will be a bike lane with some buffering on each side of that bike lane to protect the cyclists, and then there will be a thru lane.”

Mayes says the lengthy construction project is essential to the city’s growth.

“If you think about just accessibility for the sidewalk, you’ll be able to walk all the way from Market down to Greenfield Lake on an ADA accessible sidewalk. That doesn’t exist now,” he said.

You can find more information about the project on the city’s website.