Local businesses discuss plans for Nifong improvement project

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COLUMBIA - Local businesses heard plans for the Nifong Boulevard Improvement Project at a meeting Thursday. 

The project is part of the city's larger capital improvement project, with this project spanning along Nifong Boulevard from Providence Road to Forum Boulevard. 

The project is funded by the Capital Improvement Sales Tax which passed in 2015.

Plans include adding two more through lanes, bike lanes and expanding sidewalks. 

The traffic signals at Bethel Street and Forum Boulevard would be replaced. 

Thursday's meeting focused on the businesses in the east end of the project. 

Jay Lindner, owner of the Nifong Shopping Center, said an expansion of Nifong Boulevard is a long time coming.

"We're excited about the fact that Nifong is finally gonna finally get widened. I know it's still a few years away, but the traffic on this road has justified it for quite a long time, so it's nice to see that we're finally moving forward with the project," Lindner said.

Project manager Allison Anderson said the next step is an interested party meeting, where plans for the rest of the project will be discussed.

After the interested party meeting, city council will hear the plans and vote on final plans before construction starts. 

If the project clears the remaining hurdles, construction would start in 2020.