Project Phases

Advanced Planning & Design

Projects in advanced planning & design are not yet funded for implementation. They are high-priority projects that are identified as candidates for potential future funding. This process of planning and design, which typically takes 12 to 18 months, will eventually produce a cost estimate and will be considered for inclusion in a future budget. Learn more about the Advanced Planning & Design Program.


During this phase, the project team works with the community to identify and evaluate options for making the improvements needed to accomplish the project's goals. The phase ends with the selection of an option to be implemented.


The project team creates the detailed information needed to construct the improvement option that was selected during the planning phase. Details include plans, specifications, etc.

Permitting (Storm Water projects only)

Required water quality permits are obtained from Federal and State governments. Other permits such as permission to work within railroad and NCDOT rights-of-way may also be obtained, if necessary. This phase typically lasts 3 to 9 months; however, it may overlap other phases.
Real estate acquisition This phase involves acquiring the property rights needed to build and maintain the improvements identified during the design phase. Learn more about the real estate acquisition process.

Utility Relocation

During this phase, utility infrastructure, such as underground gas, water and sewer lines, as well as overhead power, telephone and television lines, are moved as needed to make way for construction for the project improvements.

Real Estate Acquisition

During this phase, the city acquires the property rights needed to build and maintain the improvements identified during the design phase. City real estate agents contact affected property owners to discuss the acquisition process and respond to any questions. This process typically takes about six months to complete. Learn more about the real estate acquisition process.


The city uses a competitive bidding process to procure the services of a contractor to build the project. By state law, the construction contract is awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. Visit Doing Business with the City to access all current solicitations.


At the start of this phase, residents, property owners, business owners and other stakeholders in the vicinity of the construction site are notified when work is expected to begin and end. As work progresses, these stakeholders are kept informed via postcards that are mailed to them. For projects that affect a large or highly populated area, a web page is created to post project details and updates. In some cases, stakeholders can subscribe to email or text notifications for project updates. Once construction is underway, a General Services inspector visits the site daily. For large projects, an inspector remains on-site full-time. View construction FAQs for additional information about what happens during this phase.


Landscaping is performed once construction ends. This includes planting trees and shrubs and installing other related amenities identified in the design. The majority of landscaping -- especially planting street trees -- takes place during the planting season October through March. Landscaping is most common for major roadway, streetscape and business corridor projects, but may be included in other projects as well.



All work is guaranteed by the contractor for a minimum of one year. During this time, General Services will perform inspections of the project area at the 6- and 11-month marks in order to identify any defects the contractor should correct at no cost before final acceptance of the project by the city at the end of the one-year warranty period.