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Mall Hopes to Keep Sales Up Despite I-40 Project

Posted April 5, 2007

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— The Streets of Southpoint mall in Durham sits right next to the pending construction project to repave the portions of Interstate 40 that was done wrong a few years ago. The first round of work cut into mall business, but mall and transportation officials are hoping for a better experience this time around.

The fix involves digging up a layer of crumbling concrete on I-40 from the Durham Freeway to Rt. 15-501, the western end of the expansion project. The project had been slated to begin Monday night with a section of I-40 eastbound a ways west of the mall, but cold weather likely will delay that at least one day.

During the original construction in 2003 and 2004, drivers were stuck in long and frustrating delays.

Asked if she would stay away from the mall if traffic hassles develop again, driver Ruby Mangum said, “Oh, absolutely, absolutely. If it takes more time away from my day, I just won't come.”

Steven Carter was not optimistic.

“I don't go to the mall that much, but I'm sure it's going to be a problem for me and a lot of people,” Carter said.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it has done all it can to minimize the impact of the project at the exits to the mall.

“We gave the DOT a list of dates we would prefer they work around, said Courtney Phillips, the mall’s spokesperson. They're taking a look at that, and they've been great to work with so far.”

Mall officials also noted that the vast majority of lane closures will occur when its stores are closed. NCDOT says crews will be working Monday through Friday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night and from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All lanes will be open on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. There also could be nine weekends when lanes would be closed around the clock.

The mall has big shopping dates like Mother's Day, graduations—even the state's tax-free holiday for back-to-school shopping—that could take a big hit from barrels, cones and closed lanes.

DOT engineers say they don't plan to shut lanes during those key times, but weather, delays, or design changes could change that.

The work is supposed to go through November, shut down for the winter, and then resume next year and be finished by May 2008.

16 Comments

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  • kevboom Apr 6, 2007

    Good luck keeping profits up; I for one won't be leaving Raleigh for Southpoint til that DOT disaster is over.

  • El Doggo Apr 6, 2007

    :-)

  • anonemoose Apr 6, 2007

    Maybe "Rev RB" needs to pray for the mall.

  • E-Diva Apr 6, 2007

    Well if the silly mall didn't need to be there in the first place, then how is it attracting so much traffic? Obviously, there was a need that was filled. Basic economic principles at work here. If you are anti-development, then you should buy a nice little ice shelf in Antartica, because that's the only place you will be safe from it.

  • El Doggo Apr 6, 2007

    They can go work at one of the other "47" malls or move away and lessen the crowds around here!

  • El Doggo Apr 6, 2007

    Awwww!!! I feel so sorry for them! The silly mall didn't need to be there in the first place. Let it crash!!!

  • E-Diva Apr 6, 2007

    It's not selfish, El Doggo...You may not think Southpointe sales revenue is important, but the people who work at the mall do. It's not greedy to want the stores to make enough money to keep their employees who will then spend money incresing the local economy. A big loss at the mall has a trickle down effect for us all, whether you care or not.

  • Just Once Apr 6, 2007

    OH No!! Only 47 other malls to choose from!! What will we do?

  • El Doggo Apr 6, 2007

    Tippett has been a constant drain to the NC tax payer!!!!!

  • tarheel1980 Apr 6, 2007

    nstead of firing DOT Secretary Tippett, our Governor put him in charge of the Toll Road Commission. That seems like a bad idea, but I guess you have to pay your political bills no matter the cost to the taxpayer.

    By the way, the quoted $15,000,000 price tag for fixing the road does not include the loss to the economy from the road closings: lost revenue at the mall, wasted gas in traffic, wasted productivity.

    The governor should take some responsibility for this mess and fire the Secretary!

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