Fuquay-Varina Residents Concerned About Highway 55 Widening Project
Posted July 2, 2002 1:16 a.m. EDT
FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. — Frustrated commuters say the state Department of Transportation's plan to widen Highway 55 from Wake County into Durham County is a project that is long overdue. Some residents in Fuquay-Varina, however, said the DOT plan needs to change before it changes their lives in a negative way.
Residents at Windsor Point Assisted Living Community have a big problem with the DOT's plan to widen Highway 55 to a five-lane divided highway with a planted-grass median. Some said the road will come too close to Windsor Point's Alzheimer's unit. Others said the new road will be a road block to emergency vehicles.
"The fire department and the EMS, they would have to go around to the light and circle and then come back in, which could cause a delay that might be an important amount of time," said Georgia Treece, executive director of Windsor Point.
Along with the retirement community, DOT officials are facing another problem. The town of Fuquay-Varina is undergoing a revitalization. The DOT plans would put the five-lane road through the town's shops and stores. Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne has asked the DOT to change its plans. He wants a loop road using Judd Parkway, around downtown and the retirement community.
"I really believe that the DOT needs to be sensitive to these areas and especially in fast-growing communities like Fuquay-Varina and Apex," he said.
Engineers said they are looking at the town's request.
The contract for widening Highway 55 through Fuquay-Varina will not be awarded until August. The project will take 2½ years to complete.