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More Roads Lead to the ESA as Work on Edwards Mill Extension Set to Start

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RALEIGH — Work will soon begin on the long-debated Edwards Mill Extension. The road will not solve all the traffic troubles around Raleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arena, but highway engineers say it will help.

One point two miles of rolling hills and woods separates North Raleigh from the Entertainment and Sports Arena.Department of Transportationengineers say the best way to bridge that gap is the Edwards Mill Extension.

Nearly $10 million in work will soon start to make Edwards Mill a four-lane divided highway from Crabtree Valley Mall to Wade Avenue.

"If you think about the north Raleigh-area and points north of Raleigh that are coming south to go to events at the arena, this will allow traffic from, say the Creedmoor Road-area to cross over and take Edwards Mill straight into the arena," says DOT construction engineer Tracy Parrott.

The ESA accelerated the need for the Edwards Mill Extension, but it is not just for the benefit of arena-goers. Commuters headed for Interstate 40 along Wade Avenue will also get a boost.

Here is what engineers say motorists can expect:
  • The project includes an additional lane on Wade Avenue from Edwards Mill to westbound I-40. In June, crews will start widening Edwards Mill to five lanes from Kidds Hill Plaza, behind Crabtree Valley Mall, to Duraleigh Road.Work will start next March on the Edwards Mill Extension from Duraleigh to Wade Avenue.Some people say the project should have been finished before the new arena opened. Parrot says the work has not been held back.
  • "We've had to satisfy the different criteria as far as environmental permits, and obviously go through the preliminary and final design phase. We're finalizing our design now, so it's gone through the standard process," he says.

    Engineers say the new gateway to the arena should be finished by 2003.

    Widening Edwards Mill from Crabtree to Duraleigh will cost $3.4 million The Edwards Mill Extension will cost taxpayers $6 million.

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    Mark Roberts, Reporter
    Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
    Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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