Third Street in Siler City has reopened after being closed since last May to facilitate the construction of Mountaire’s $170 million, 255,000 square foot poultry processing facility adjacent to the road.
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SILER CITY — Third Street in Siler City has reopened after being closed since last May to facilitate the construction of Mountaire’s $170 million, 255,000 square foot poultry processing facility adjacent to the road.
When initially closed, the N.C. Dept. of Transportation stated it was to perform utility work underneath the street, upgrading the storm-drainage system, and permit the placing of foundations for the pedestrian bridge that connect’s the company’s employee parking lot and the plant. The original timeline noted the road’s reopening would be mid-July of last year.
Months went by and per Mountaire’s request, the street remained closed throughout the remainder of the year. In November, residents and businesses on Third Street began asking the town when the street, a major artery for downtown traffic, would be reopened, only to learn that Mountaire had requested a permanent closure of the road, noting concerns about safety and traffic flow.
While Third Street is under the authority of the NCDOT, the department would be unlikely to approve closing the road permanently without the support of the town. Even the consideration of it by the town would prompt a public hearing.
Siler City’s Board of Commissioners decided late last year to wait to consider Mountaire’s request until the plant is up and running. The board determined that it felt it best to study the traffic patterns and impact over a period of several months once the plant is moving at full steam. According to Siler City Mayor John Grimes, that review period would be no less than 90 days.
At the time, Grimes also noted concerns about the impact a partial closure would have on emergency operations as well as livelihoods of the nearly 50 other businesses located on the road.
According to NCDOT District Engineer Matthew Kitchen, Mountaire is still interested in a partial closure of the street, but confirmed the town is still waiting to re-evaluate the request while the company is in production. Kitchen also said that residents and drivers should still expect a lot of construction on Third Street which may result in lane closures and additional congestion.
“Motorists are also asked to please exercise caution when traveling through the area while work continues,” Kitchen said.