North Carolina Construction News staff writer
Charlotte’s North Tryon Street business corridor project has earned two bronze Greenroads certifications from the Greenroads Foundation.
It’s the city’s first Greenroads-certified project, the first for NCDOT and the third in North Carolina. Organizers say the rating program, developed by the Sustainable Transport Council, “challenges project teams to go above and beyond minimum environmental, social and economic performance measure.”
The $20.3 million project transformed the North Tryon corridor between Dalton Avenue and 30th Street/Matheson Avenue into a parallel pair of tree-lined one-way streets, North Tryon and North Church Streets with traffic-calming features, new sidewalks separated from the road with planted medians, crosswalks and bike lanes.
Infrastructure improvements included a new eight-inch water line along North Church Street, sewer line upgrades and a massive triple-box culvert to direct storm water. Providing this new water and sewer infrastructure with the project helped setup the area for future development and avoid ripping up the newly constructed streetscape improvements at a later date.
To declutter the corridor, overhead utilities were consolidated from both sides of North Tryon Street to one side. Placemaking features such as decorative lighting, public artwork and an urban farm and garden are fitting additions that engage businesses, motorists and passersby and anchor the corridor.
The project began early in concept planning and design as a Greenroads pilot project so the project team could evaluate several innovative land-use and sustainability features, including stormwater infrastructure. City of Charlotte Landscape Management planted over 200 new trees along the roadway and preserved existing trees in the project area. Low-emission construction equipment was used as well as recycled pavement.
The project is located in the Graham Street/North Tryon Street Corridor of Opportunity, part of Mayor Vi Lyles’ Racial Equity Initiative that reinvests in six key corridors that are vital to the health and success of Charlotte’s economically disadvantaged communities. The North Tryon Business Corridor is a critical link that connects people to resources and businesses. The project demonstrates the city’s commitment to equitable investment and opportunity and to giving longtime residents the ability to stay in place.
A large portion of construction took place during the COVID-19 pandemic when businesses and workplaces were shut down. The project created 223 well-paying construction jobs that were stable despite the historic disruption. The construction team of Sealand Construction and WGR Southeast LLC hired 88 per cent of their workers within 50 miles of the project, and 98% of them were paid prevailing wages.