Third Street decision on hold by Siler City

BY CASEY MANN
Posted 11/22/18

The town of Siler City is choosing to wait to consider a Mountaire request to close a portion of E. Third Street until after the plant is up and running.

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Third Street decision on hold by Siler City

Posted

The town of Siler City is choosing to wait to consider a Mountaire request to close a portion of E. Third Street until after the plant is up and running.

Mountaire, a Delaware based poultry processing company which is constructing a $170 million 255,000 square foot facility in downtown Siler City, recently issued a request for the permanent closure of several public roads included North Avenue, Johnson Avenue, and a portion of E. Third Street in Siler City.

For much of the past year, the eastern segment of Third Street, where it intersects U.S. 64 in Siler City, has been closed to facilitate construction traffic.

According to Mountaire Community Relations Manager Mark Reif, the company is concerned about traffic flow and safety on the road once the plant is in full swing. Reif estimates the plant will have about 1,500 trucks crossing the street each week.

Third Street is maintained under the authority of N.C. Department of Transportation, not the town of Siler City. Even so, the request for its closure is first made to the town. Siler City Mayor John Grimes said the process to close a road is a lengthy one which requires several steps on both the state and local level.

Grimes said that the town, while reviewing the request “as necessary,” will wait for a full review of the request until E. Third Street is reopened. The Siler City Board of Commissioners wants an opportunity to “observe traffic patterns and impacts” while the plant is in operation. That review period will be no less than 90 days, according to Grimes.
E. Third Street is home to around 50 other local businesses in addition to Mountaire.

Business owners say they are by and large concerned about the notion of closing the street that serves as a major artery to downtown. Grimes noted the Siler City Board of Commissioners has similar concerns.

“While I believe the request to close this portion of E. Third Street is made by Mountaire in an effort to enhance efficiency and productivity of its operations, I have concerns over the potential negative impact such a closure would have to existing businesses in the area,” Grimes said. “Also under consideration is the negative commercial impact that would be felt by our downtown businesses, as E. Third Street has historically served as the primary route for traffic from U.S. 64 to the central business district of our community.”

Grimes also had concerns about the impact a partial closure of E. Third Street would have on response time for emergency operations such as fire, police and emergency management services. These concerns are amplified by NCDOT’s proposed plans to add a median down U.S. 64 and close several intersections such as Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Mountaire anticipates the Siler City poultry processing plant will be open in December or January. NCDOT has approved the temporary closure of E. Third Street until Dec. 31.

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