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35 Years Later, Officials Still Looking To Relieve Traffic Woes In Durham County

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DURHAM, N.C. — Engineers and elected city and county officials are meeting Monday to try to figure out if the northern Durham Parkway will get off the drawing board.

1967 was the first time planners proposed a bypass expressway cutting across Durham County and stretching from the Orange County line to the Wake County line. Thirty-five years later, the DOT's latest proposal is to have a loop road that would give drivers alternatives to clogged commuter feeder routes like Highway 70 and Interstate 85.

Much of the land the proposed road cuts across is covered by streams, woods and wetlands. Road planners say environmental and budgetary concerns have caused roadblocks, but they claim that is not all bad.

"To do it properly and to give the citizens and elected officials the time they need to ask the questions and analyze the impacts and the advantages and the disadvantages and the benefits associated with those projects, it takes time," said Durham transportation manager Mark Ahrendsen.

One of the proposed routes for the northern Durham Parkway would cut across Fletcher's Chapel Road -- a rural road used every day as a cut-through road to RTP or into Wake County. Residents said they are waiting to see what happens.

"As long as it's not over the top of my house with two columns in between me like I'm living in Los Angeles or something. That I couldn't deal with. I do think it'll take a lot of traffic and stuff off of our little smaller roads because they are real dangerous. It's horrible," resident Jimmy Brogden said.

Durham city and county officials, along with state Department of Transportation officials, will hold a public work session 7 p.m. Monday at the Hillandale Staff Development Center at 2107 Hillandale Road.


Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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