Local News

Fire Station, Day-Care Center Upset Over Western Boulevard Construction

Posted November 26, 2002

— Firefighters and a day-care center workers are among a growing list of people who believe Raleigh's Western Boulevard improvement project is doing more harm than good.

When firefighters at Fire Station 8 head out on a call, they have to take it slow across a concrete median that is part of the Western Boulevard improvement project. When they return, firefighters have to stop, get out, stop traffic and then back in.

"It has been an inconvenience, but it has not caused us to have to redirect any calls except on a short-term basis when traffic backs up due to construction," Fire Chief Phillip Woodlief said.

While the median is a temporary hassle for those working at the fire station, a nearby day-care center claims the new road is a permanent problem. At Childcare Network, workers say grading has put their business out of sight and has caused drainage problems. They also say the new median blocks access to their business.

"[Before] you didn't have to go all the way up to the fire station. It was just a little bit of median before. You could actually cut across right at the driveway," day-care worker Hope Gill said. "Now, you have to go up and it's kind of hectic because when you try to do a U-turn, you can't because they have all those orange cones in the way."

Woodlief said the city has promised to add more asphalt to smooth the ride over the median for his firetrucks. He said the changes and the inconvenience are all part of growing pains.

"You learn that when you watch the city grow to three times its size, cones and barrels are all part of that process," he said.

Raleigh traffic engineers say the new median will reduce rear-end collisions by funneling turning traffic into specific turn locations. The work should be finished by March.

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