In the last three days, accidents on Highway 87 near the Cumberland County line have killed one person and sent 14 others to the hospital. Highway 87 was built more than four decades ago. The people who live and work on the highway believe the traffic has outgrown the road.
"It's so congested and backed up there all the time," says local resident Wendy Edge. "I'm afraid of it. People fly trying to get to work and from work. I don't want to get caught up in it."
Chief Davis, a student at Tar Heel High School agrees. He says it was just the other day that he was with his father on the stretch of highway, when he heard a squeal and a crash.
The hog processing plant on Highway 87 has thousands of motorists travelling to and from work everyday. Because of the increased traffic, the Department of Transportation is widening the road to four lanes in some places. Locals fought to turn the road into a bypass, but instead it will go right through Tar Heel.
"Can you imagine trying to get from the post office on one side of the street to the grocery store on the other side of the street," asks resident Gladwin Priest, "and you've got to through four lanes plus a turn lane. That's five. Can you imagine trying to cross all that?
There is a positive aspect to the busy highway. Businesses that could once barely survive are now thriving due to the influx of traffic. Make no mistake about it, however, everyone in Tar Heel is scared of the accidents that have happened, and that could happen in the future.
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