This section of Duke Street, photographed on May 15 looking east from its intersection with Bladen Street, is slated for improvement, including the addition of on-street parking.(Photo: Jay Karr)
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Residents who live, work or cut through historic downtown Beaufort will soon have a new road-improvement project to negotiate.
Construction on Duke Street is expected to begin the first week of June, with sewer-pipe replacement by Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority, assistant director of public works Lamar Taylor said. The work will begin at Duke's intersection with Monson Street and progress over 30 days to Newcastle Street. Temporary road closures are expected.
As the authority finishes its work, the city will begin a $474,268 facelift to about 1,000 feet of Duke Street between Bladen and Harrison streets. The road will be closed during most of the construction, which Taylor expects to be completed by mid-October.
Cleland Site Prep was awarded the contract Tuesday by City Council.
The city's work is being paid for with a $500,000 federal grant awarded at the end of 2010. As much as $500,000 in additional grants could be available to extend the Duke Street improvements to Carteret Street, according to Josh Martin of the city's Office of Civic Investment.
Work will include installation of curb and gutter, paved roads and on-street parking and lighting. Sidewalks will be installed and some will be repaired. About 80 percent of the parking will be parallel on both sides of the road, Martin said.
Plans indicate Duke Street will be about 37 feet wide from curb to curb, including space for on-street parking, with six feet for landscaping and another five feet of sidewalk on either side of the road.
The project complements a similar $600,000 streetscape project on Bladen Street, also by Cleland Site Prep, that Taylor said should be largely done by the end of June -- in time for the Beaufort Water Festival, which runs from July 13 to 22. Bladen is closed now between Duke and North streets. The city spent about $800,000 in 2008 to fix up Bladen Street from Boundary to Duke streets.
Officials say the intent is to create a more walkable and safe environment for residents and visitors.