Local News

Construction Behind Schedule In Many Parts Of Durham

Posted January 29, 2003

— Motorists who commute daily on Interstate 85 is a headache. For many, it is hard to tell where the construction traffic stops and the other traffic starts.

A 6-mile stretch that runs from Highway 70 to Highway 15-501 has not had a significant upgrade since it was built in 1950. Making up for all that lost time impacts many, including those at the Pan Pan Diner.

"I've got to move. Got to go. Next Sunday is our last day. [I've] got to go. I have no choice," diner owner Aubrey Foster said.

The state claims the landmark diner sits right in the path of a new exit ramp. A lawsuit is pending, but, it looks like the wrecking ball is a future customer.

Club Boulevard Elementary School has also felt the I-85 growing pains. Parents, students and teachers wanted a noise wall between them and the expanding interstate. The state Department of Transportation now says a noise wall does not meet state guidelines and will not be built.

The construction does not stop on Interstate 85. If you turn onto Guess Road, construction is years behind schedule.

"I don't think you'll come up with a solution that everybody is going to be completely happy with, so we try to do the best we can," division engineer Jon Nance said. "We listen. We do listen very carefully and we try to make adjustments and try to accommodate all we can but ultimately, there is going to be some things we just can't do."

The I-85 work started in 1999. When construction is complete in 2006, DOT officials say the cost to the taxpayers will be $171 million.

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