BERLIN — People who live downtown might be in for a restless night or two next week, as Main Street will be completely overhauled from Baker to Bay Streets overnight rather than during the day.
The Town Council elected to have the State Highway Administration’s contractor for the project to work overnight rather than have Main Street shut down during the day, especially as the summer season looms.
Although the road looks fine, SHA tests revealed that Main Street has a degraded surface that might make it difficult to stop in an emergency. The project, similar to the work nearing completion in Snow Hill, will require the road be ground down and repaved.
The contractor doing the work for the SHA received many complaints about disrupting daily business in Snow Hill and so asked the Berlin Mayor and Council if they would prefer that the work be done overnight instead.
Since Berlin is busier and has more traffic than Snow Hill, Mayor Gee Williams pointed out that the day work would likely be even more disastrous, both making roads impassable and local businesses inaccessible.
Councilmember Paula Lynch, who lives on Main Street, said in her view one night’s disrupted sleep would be better than a full week of having trouble getting to and from her home.
The council took the advice of Michael Day, director of community and economic development, who said that as good hosts the town should recall those who make the trip into Berlin both to sightsee and to shop.
“I think we have to take them into consideration,” he said.
As part of the project, the crosswalks downtown will have to be replaced. Williams said the state will handle those on Main but that the town will be responsible for replacing the crosswalks on town roads.
Town curbs and sidewalks will be made handicapped-accessible along the route as part of the town’s continuing effort to become more wheelchair friendly.
“Once it’s done, it will be done for a long, long time,” Williams said of the project.