DURHAM — As the Triangle grows, theState Department of Transportationis fighting an uphill battle against overburdened roads and intersections. However, one of the area's busiest commuter crossroads is about to get a multimillion dollar makeover.
No matter what time of day, the roads in growing east Durham are crowded. Case in point: the intersection of Miami Boulevard and Highway 70.
Research Triangle Park is just down the road, and it is a crossroads for Raleigh and Durham traffic.
The number of cars that pass through each day far exceeds what the intersection was designed for.
So now it is time for a face lift. Five lanes will be added to Miami Boulevard and what is now Mineral Springs Road. Multiple turn lanes will be added on both sides of Highway 70.
"What we're really trying to do is to make over this intersection. It's going to be modernized and brought up to date. You're taking your left turns and right turns out of your through movements and that's going to allow traffic to go through the intersection a lot more easily," explains Mark Craig, DOT resident engineer.
The DOT will widen Miami Blvd. down to Angier Avenue, then it is back to four lanes with no median to Methodist Road.
TheCity of Durhamhas asked the state for money to upgrade that section, meaning a big improvement for commuters from Highway 70 all the way to Interstate 40.
No businesses will have to be moved, and 2,800 houses and apartments will soon move in nearby.
"It's not a country intersection anymore," says Craig. "We're really going to upgrade. It's modernized, and just driving through eastern Durham -- the area's really growing. You're going to start seeing that on the road construction over this way."
Crews are just starting to move utility poles to make way for the work. The $4.3 million makeover is scheduled for completion in late 2001.
Commuters can expect some growing pains before the road improvements are complete. The DOT says it will have to close lanes during construction, however all lanes will remain open during rush hour.