Downtown Wilson streets become 2-way this summer

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The final step to converting stretches of Tarboro and Pine streets downtown to two-way traffic will kick off in late March.

“The conversion affects Tarboro Street from Hines to Vance, and Pine Street from Vance to Tarboro,” said Wilson Public Works Director Bill Bass.

Starting March 24, crews will turn the traffic signals to flashing red and install stop signs for all traffic at the intersections of Green and Pine, Green and Tarboro, Vance and Pine and Vance and Tarboro streets.

Traffic signals for the new directions of travel will be added at Pine and Tarboro streets’ intersections with Nash and Barnes streets.

“Two intersections will be changed on March 24 with the additional two the next day,” said Bass. “The flashing red lights will be in place for 90 days.”

Once the 90-day period to get drivers acclimated to the change concludes, the traffic signals will be removed. State crews also will realign the intersection of Pine and Tarboro streets near the Salvation Army to improve safety as well as repave and re-stripe both Tarboro and Pine streets by July.

Once the work is complete, the city will assume maintenance for the 1-mile stretch of both roads. There is a plan to transition the intersection of Tarboro and Pine streets with Barnes Street to four-way stops, but a timeline for that has not been announced.

To prepare for the ownership transition, the city completed infrastructure improvements and patched the road with asphalt last summer.

“This project will ensure Tarboro and Pine streets will meet the needs of our growing downtown,” Bass said in June.

Many business owners on the two streets are eager for the change, which is expected to improve safety and increase traffic.

“In downtowns, two-way streets are preferable because they generate more business investment and economic development as well as slow the traffic to a speed that makes it safer for drivers and pedestrians,” said Kimberly Van Dyk, the city’s planning and community revitalization director. “Two-way streets help small businesses grow as more pedestrians and passing drivers may take notice of the businesses they may have otherwise overlooked.”