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Highway 401 Project Almost Year Behind Schedule

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The state Department of Transportation said the highway 401 widening project in northern Wake County would be finished Sept. 6. More than two weeks later, the orange barrels are still up, and several motorists are mad about it.

The DOT says the contractor, W.C. English, will be a year behind schedule Oct. 1. The idea is to turn the old, two-lane Highway 401 into a four- and five-lane divided highway from Spring Forest Road to Mitchell Mill Road.

The contractor says design changes, utility troubles and bad weather have slowed the work, but some drivers are tired of hearing the excuses.

"I think it's crazy. They've had this road done and they don't even use half of it. They keep you stuck on one side and have three lanes on the other side closed for all those months," motorist Stan Juszkiewicz said.

DOT officials say the work should be completed by Saturday, Oct. 5. Officials say asphalt needed to be added to the lanes of the road. People who use Highway 401 every day are skeptical of the new projected completion date.

"We'll wait and see. We'll wait and see. We'll just take it as it comes," motorist Sid Collins said.

The DOT says the contractor will be fined at least $70,000 for being so far behind schedule. Under new guidelines, DOT officials can fine a contractor up to $50,000 a month for being behind schedule.


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