Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The construction of a road connecting Stantonsburg Road and the medical district in west Greenville to 10th Street and the East Carolina University campus will be a massive transportation improvement for this community. It will ease movement in a key corridor, providing an attractive, direct entrance to the city and aid in emergency response times to downtown calls.
For those who live and work in that corridor, however, the project promises massive disruption as homes and businesses are uprooted to make way for the new roadway. It is therefore critical that as the start of construction nears, officials continue to listen to those affected and help in every way to make this transition as fair and comfortable as the circumstances allow.
When completed, the connector will do more than provide residents and visitors a swift, accessible route from Memorial Drive and parts west to downtown Greenville, including the main East Carolina campus. Importantly, the controlled-access thoroughfare will give passage to emergency vehicles coming to and from the hospital, bypassing the train tracks that once caused life-threatening delays.
However, ushering the project toward completion has been a massively difficult task. More than a decade has passed since Greenville city government, in concert with officials at East Carolina and the entity now known as Vidant Medical Center, began pursuit of a road to connect Stantonsburg Road to 10th Street. Given the logistical challenge of addressing those affected and charting the best route, it is little surprise that the proposal remains in the planning stages.
The key issue is making certain the homeowners and business operators in the business have been heard throughout. At the infancy of this initiative, local officials and those in state transportation posts held numerous public meetings and hearings to discuss various proposals. The path chosen was selected in part because of its limited impact and would move the fewest number of homes.
The fact that this roadway will offer the community broad public benefit will likely be little solace to those displaced. The coming months will be traumatic as homes are abandoned, businesses shuttered and lives uprooted. Officials have pledged to provide fair compensation for the sacrifice. It is just they do so, and critical that those plans are followed through.
The coming months will not be easy but — so long as those affected are treated fairly — pressing ahead on this project will be the right way to prepare for the city’s future.
via The Daily Reflector.