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Trees Come Down to Make Way for Progress

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RALEIGH — The price of progress is being paid all over the Triangle. People who live along Edwards Mill Road in Raleigh are the latest to feel the growing pains.

Edwards Mill Road is being widened from two lanes to five lanes. The trees along the road will have to go. Along with those trees, big chunks of residents' yards will be replaced with pavement.

John Smithers watched crews make way for the new lanes. He even forecast his neighbor's future.

"That road will come within 8 feet of his bedroom," Smithers said. "That whole house is going to have to come out eventually. It's making a whole lot of difference."

Smithers is losing almost half of his front yard, as well as some big pine trees. He and many of his neighbors say with Crabtree Valley Mall on one side, and the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena on the other, their loss was unavoidable.

"We're in civilization, you know, and that requires progress," Smithers said.

The missing trees are a big loss for nature lovers and neighbors, but the financial compensation may have eased the pain. The state paid John Smithers $31,000 for 3,200 square feet of his yard.

The master plan is to give commuters another artery to get to major roads like Wade Avenue and Interstate 40. The neighbors know that being part of the master plan comes with a price.

NC Department of Transportationengineers say the $5.3 million widening project should be finished by July 2002. A second project extending Edwards Mill Road to Wade Avenue will not be finished until at least 2003.


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