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Road to the Crown Difficult

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FAYETTEVILLE — Something is missing at Cumberland County's new Crown Coliseum. A five-lane road.

Spectators are getting in and out, but movement would be far easier with the road that has been planned for years. Construction on the road was supposed to have started in 1994.

But now, four years later, a bare patch of land still sits at the road site. And it may stay that way for a while.

The original coliseum plans called for the front entrance to be on the west side. But NC Department of Transportation engineers convinced Coliseum officials to put the main entrance on the north side because of the five-lane thoroughfare -- a road that won't be in place until the turn of the century at the earliest.

The inaugural season of major events held at the Crown Coliseum is over, and for the most part the year has been a smashing success.

"It's been difficult this year," says coliseum Manager Kendall Wall. "Being our first year and getting started to really not have your front door. But it's a five-lane that goes in front of the Coliseum coming off the interstate, in front of the coliseum by the hospital and to the front door off Fort Bragg. And off of that five-lane is a five-lane that comes to our front door. So 60 to 70 percent of our traffic would use that entrance."

DOT officials say wetland concerns have been a big part of the delay. They say they'll be ready to contract the work out in September -- But the earliest the road would be completed would be the year 2000.

When it is built, it will cause a whole new round of problems for neighbors.

"They're talking about five and six lanes going in and out that's going to dump every bit of it right in front of me," says Bucky Pierson, one of the Coliseum's neighbors.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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