FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - A portion of downtown Florence is getting a total facelift, and it's happening at the intersection of Dargan and Evans streets.
The construction cones, the trucks and the road detours have been the prominent thing drivers have noticed in the downtown area over the past year and a half.
Evans Street will be completely realigned to make it straight, rather than the jog-right street it was before. This is to make way for the new Hyatt Hotel, in addition to all of the infrastructure going on in downtown.
"You can't repave a street without shutting the street down and you can't repave it until you put the water in, the sewer connections and all of the infrastructure in place," said Florence City Councilman George Jebaily. "And that's what we've been seeing with the construction and new developments. They had to tie in for infrastructure purposes, so it's slowed things down."
Jebaily thought the road paving would be done before now, but said the ultimate end will be worth it.
"It's going to make for a much smoother flow of traffic," he said. "Pedestrian activity will be a lot easier as well, and of course, with the hotel, it just makes it all better."
Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela said the new Hyatt Hotel coming to the intersection was a great reason to make sure the realignment happened.
"When the Hyatt project came along and they were in need of a good location, it made sense to go ahead and accomplish that realignment," Wukela said. "Creating a new corner lot for the Hyatt, that will work out very, very well."
Evans and Dargan streets will be turned into a true "T" intersection. Wukela said the city will put in a brand new traffic light and completely straighten Evans out to lead back into the current road.
The city wants residents to know there are 100-plus parking spaces open during the construction. The lot can be accessed on the alleyway on North Dargan Street to accommodate the new additions in the evolving downtown.
Hotel Florence will be in the Royall Knight building on the southwest corner, while the Kress building is situated on the northwest corner, Wukela said. He added the police substation will reside on the northeast corner.
"So, I think that creates a very strong intersection there at Evans and Dargan," Wukela said.
The repaving is expected to be complete in the next 30 days, with plenty of time for the construction to then begin for the new Hyatt Hotel by spring 2017.