Local News

DOT: Dry Weather Perfect For Road Work

Posted November 21, 2001 3:01 a.m. EST

— Nearly a month of no rain in the Triangle is bad for lawns, reservoirs, and forest fires. However, the dry weather is good for local road construction projects.

Crews continue the big job of overhauling Interstate 85 in Durham. Moving earth when it is muddy is nearly impossible. With no rain, there is no mud in sight.

While it will still take years to finish the project, the Department of Transportation said that the dry fall has helped crews get months ahead.

DOT engineers are promising at least one project in 2001 instead of 2002.

"We have a project on New Hope Road that's under way, a widening project there. Earlier in the year we anticipated it would be spring before we finished it, but because of the weather and the progress, the contractors made me think we're going to finish it early or late this year," said DOT engineer John Nance.

Crews along New Hope Road have nearly a month of dry weather to thank for a completion date of mid-December, instead of late March.

In August 2000, construction vehicles were slipping and sliding in the mud along Interstate 540, making little progress.

Today, I-540's next section, from Falls of Neuse to Capital Boulevard, has gotten a dry boost, too. Contractors think they are ahead of schedule and anticipate a completion date of August 2002.

One drawback of the dry weather is dust. Water trucks stay busy throughout the day trying to keep the dust down. Still, the crews said that they prefer the dust to the mud.

"When you have a dry period of time you're also going to have a wet period of time, so right now we're making good progress. We're going into some winter months and hopefully we're not going to be hurt too much by extended wet times, but right now things are looking pretty good," Nance said.

WRAL meteorologists said that as of Tuesday, there has been no measurable rainfall at RDU International in 26 days.