Local News

Construction begins on Durham's East End Connector

Posted April 22, 2015 12:15 p.m. EDT
Updated April 22, 2015 12:55 p.m. EDT

— Construction crews broke ground Wednesday on the East End Connector in Durham, a project decades in the making that will ultimately link Interstates 40 and 85.

Durham city and county leaders tossed dirt to signify the start of the $142 million project. When completed in 2017, the 4-mile stretch of asphalt will connect the Durham Freeway with the U.S. 70/N.C. Highway 98 intersection. Other related road upgrades will also be done.

The connector was first introduced in 1959, and it was not without controversy. Some in the community were upset that homes and businesses in the pathway would be demolished.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell said the project will have an important economic impact.

"Now we've opened up an opportunity for the development of northeast central Durham," he said Wednesday. "In terms of jobs coming out to Angier Avenue, hopefully, companies that now might want to relocate into the northern part of the county will no longer have an issue of getting down into Durham and to the airport as they do now."

Dragados USA Inc., of New York City, was awarded the contract to build the connector. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has said it will name the link Interstate 885.