Project Tracker: Kerr Avenue construction progressing


Travis Stoker

Construction on Kerr Avenue.

Casey McAnarney, Editor-in-Chief

One of the most heavily trafficked areas near campus is progressing on its makeover as North Carolina Department of Transportation officials and employees continue to work on widening the busy Kerr Avenue.

The intersection of Kerr Avenue and Market Street sees an average of 21,000 vehicles a day, according to an article in the Star News by Gareth McGrath. In this article, the DOT also expressed the need for this road widening, as it would relieve the congestion and possibly reduce the number of accidents in the area. This $22 million project began back in early 2016.

“We are moving along slowly and trying to get the stuff from Randall Parkway to Market Street [done],” said Jason Rivenbark, Senior Assistant Resident Engineer for the NC DOT. “[We want to] just about complete everything but the last layer of asphalt. Just as soon as we can get some nice weather and get back to paving concrete, we will have it look like what the final product will look like.”

Right now, Rivenbark said that they are looking at November 2018 for the completion of the project. He cannot guarantee that they will be done by that point, but that is the schedule currently. In a recent article for the Star News, however, reporter Cammie Bellamy said that the prospective completion date was May 2019.

Rivenbark said that everything has been going fairly smoothly; widening jobs are “slow” due to the fact that it comes into contact with utilities, which ultimately slows down the process. “It’s like remodeling a house. You are never going to know what you are getting into until you take it apart.”

As for the road construction, progression on this project means that new traffic lights have been installed at the corner of Randall Parkway and South Kerr Avenue and new lanes have opened. Rivenbark said that as new lanes are completed and others are closed to be worked on, student drivers in the area should be vigilant.

“Be careful driving through and pay attention to the lane closures,” Rivenbark said. “And keep in mind that lanes will be shifting and changing. You may come home and it be entirely different.”

This should bring some satisfaction to UNC Wilmington students, seeing as the intersection of Randall Parkway and South Kerr Avenue currently houses three apartment complexes that are used by college students with even more complexes in the general vicinity of the construction. The three right on the intersection are Aspen Heights, the Lofts at Randall and Mill Creek Apartments.

This is not the only project currently under construction on or near campus. As Wilmington is projected to grow from 220,000 to 337,000 by the year 2040, Wilmington has in place many projects in the works to accommodate for the growing traffic concerns. Other areas that are under construction are the intersections of Eastwood and Military Cutoff as well as Martin Luther King Parkway and South College Road.