Local News

Highway 401 Widening Project Almost Complete

Posted August 22, 2002

— After almost three years of constructions, motorists will finally get a chance to test out the new Highway 401 road-widening project.

Crews started widening Highway 401 in mid-1999. Now, officials with the state Department of Transportation say they should have the project open to traffic as early as Aug. 30, but definitely by Sept. 6.

The project turns the old two-lane into a four- and five-lane divided highway from Spring Forest Road to Mitchell Mill Road. Some commuters said they are tired of the construction headaches.

"Well, you sit and you wait. I mean you have no other option," motorist Lisa Spears said. "You can try to cut through the neighborhoods and try to avoid [it]. Rush hour is unbelievable."

The construction also blocks access to Muhammed Ehsan's convenience store. Ehsan said he has lost $150,000 in business due to the construction. Despite officials saying that the road could be finished by next Friday, Ehsan said he is skeptical.

"They told me a lot of time that we are going to finish. I don't think so," he said.

The contractor, W.C. English, said it has had trouble with design changes and utilities. DOT officials said the contractor will be fined at least $70,000 for being 10 months behind schedule.

DOT officials said while the road will be open by Sept. 6, there will still be periodic lane closures to put on the final touches. Those lane closures will not take place during rush hour.

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