Local News

Construction Frustrates Wake Co. Drivers

Posted November 8, 2002

— Western Boulevard has been torn up, blocked off and backed up for what seems like forever. A road-side coffee house has barrels and cones out front and seems close to losing all of its out-front parking.

The major overhaul that stretches from North Carolina State to Blue Ridge Road started last January and may not be finished until March.

Like so many similar projects across the Triangle, the construction along Western Boulevard impacts a lot of people on and off the road. Traffic and heavy equipment are almost on top of each other.

As the work has continued, the frustration has mounted along the busy stretch. Many drivers and business owners just want the construction finished.

It's a hassle for just about everyone.

Inside the Vineyard Cafe Coffee House, employees get so many questions about the road mess that they've posted answers next to the cash register.

"It just got a lot harder in the last week," said Richard Friedman, the coffee house's general manager. "It seems like they were doing a lot of preparatory work for about six months, and with the past week, they've started in earnest."

The coffee talk all along Western is that the road work leaves a bitter aftertaste.

Said one coffee-shop patron: "Trying to pull out with all the traffic lanes being blocked and less space to get out on the road, with the traffic trying to manuever around - like, right now, trying to manuever around those cones - does frustrate you."

Across the street from the coffee shop, you'll get your paws muddy getting into Boulevard Animal Hospital. Staff there is worried about the 80-year-old oak trees out front. They want to make sure the trees remain intact and viable for nutrients.

Western Boulevard will be widened, spruced up with a raised, planted median, and will get a bike/pedestrian path. Drivers and business owners share one thought as they work their way through the line of traffic:

Hurry up and finish.

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