Local News

DOT Pledges 15-501 Widening Project Will Be Finished By End Of Year

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15-501 construction
CHATHAM COUNTY, N.C. — February 2001 -- that's when construction crews started widening a section of Highway 15-501 from Pittsboro to Chapel Hill.

Turning a 12.7-mile stretch of two lanes into four lanes was supposed to wrap up in 2003, but workers still are not finished with construction.

"It seems endless; it really has," driver Emily Halpern said.

But now there is a new pledge from the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT), which said the 15-501 widening project will be completed by the end of the year.

Ron Van Cleef, an engineer with DOT, said delays were caused by "utility issues" and "plan revisions."

There were also legal troubles.

The work stopped and started as the original contractor sued a subcontractor and the subcontractor countersued. Both then sued the DOT, which then sued both contractors.

"They need to just get it done. Stop the arguing and the bickering and get it done," Steve Ganley said. "I mean people are getting tired of it."

Getting the job done is the plan as two new contractors have been brought on to complete the project. The court hearings will begin after the construction is expected to be completed, DOT officials said.

DOT officials added that Jones Brothers Construction is liable for $500,000 in late fees for delaying the project. Jones Brothers is contesting the fine.


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