Traffic

Mild winter helping crews make significant progress on East End Connector

Posted February 17

When the connector opens to traffic in the summer of 2019, it will tie the Durham Freeway to I-85 with big, freeway-style interchanges. It's designed to get traffic off secondary roads.
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— As work continues on the East End Connector in Durham, a project decades in the making that will ultimately link Interstates 40 and 85, some in areas around the construction are worried it will make traffic worse.

When the connector opens to traffic in the summer of 2019, it will tie the Durham Freeway to I-85 with big, freeway-style interchanges. It's designed to get traffic off secondary roads.

North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott says a mild winter is helping crews make progress.

"It's a very big deal for Durham because, once it is finished, that's going to get a direct connection to basically the East Coast," Abbott said.

"A lot of the work right now is bridge work. This project is going to involve construction of about 16 bridges. We're even building a detour bridge for a railroad."

Engineers say that, once it happens, it should help relieve congestion on local roads.

Cheyne Burwell says he's worried that might not be the case.

"People coming in from Granville County, from Wake Forest, are going to continue to use these secondary roads that are not built for this bandwidth of traffic," he said.

"Sherron Road is really difficult. There are times I can barely get out of my home to get to work, and there have been days where I've had to turn around and just work from home."

Burwell says he's hopeful that the DOT will expand other roads on his side of town.

DOT officials said they believe the East End Connector will go a long way to solving many of the area's traffic troubles.

As work continues over the spring and summer, crews will keep travel lanes open in the evening when the Durham Bulls play home games.

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