Construction woes: Dilworth Neighborhood Grille calling out city through messages on sign

A portion of East Morehead St. is down to one lane open and traffic backs up along it.
The owner of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille says the construction at the intersection of East Morehead and South McDowell is causing traffic and safety issues
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 9:22 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A local restaurant is calling out the city of Charlotte amidst construction headaches.

The owner of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille says the construction at the intersection of East Morehead St. and South McDowell St. is causing traffic and safety issues for customers. According to the city, work has been underway in this intersection since November 2021 to install wastewater and storm drainage infrastructure.

A portion of East Morehead St. is down to one lane open and traffic backs up along it.

A sign reading “the city says they are working 24/7.... where?” is sitting along the street outside of the grille.

It’s one of several the owner of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille has posted since construction began in November 2021.

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Previous signs read “free party for road crew if finished by 9/1/22″ and “tell the city McDowell St. should not be a storage lot.”

“Construction will take as long as construction takes, but you could help businesses survive it,” Matt Wohlfarth, the owner of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, told WBTV.

Wohlfarth says traffic and parking are issues, and he doesn’t see an end in sight.

“There’s no oversight,” he said. “They’re not out here on the weekends. They’re not out here at night. There aren’t even lights out here if they wanted to work.”

He also sees people walking and riding bikes and scooters into oncoming traffic trying to cross over South McDowell Street.

“A safe passageway across McDowell would go a really long way,” he says.

He says the city told him they deemed it unsafe to put a crosswalk there.

A spokesperson for the city told WBTV, “the pedestrian detour route to reach Dilworth Grille and the surrounding businesses is to walk along McDowell Street away from Morehead Street, crossing at the intersection at Baxter Street to get to the other side of McDowell. This pedestrian detour will add a few minutes to reach your destination but is worth taking the time to arrive safely.”

That spokesperson also said the active construction area in the intersection is a tunneling operation in multiple directions with most construction activity happening 25 feet underground.

Wohlfarth worries those improvements will come with a hefty price to pay.

“We don’t want Morehead to be the next Elizabeth,” he said. “When that trolley went in it closed every business down.”

A few doors down, Sassy Nail Bar is getting close to its breaking point as customers avoid the location due to a lack of parking and accessibility.

“The owners have been thinking about moving the location somewhere else,” Ger Xiong, the receptionist at Sassy Nail Bar, said.

She says the signs make her laugh, but she also hopes they’ll make a difference.

Construction is anticipated to continue through early 2023.