DOT Officials Apologize For Slowness Of Highway 55 Widening

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FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. — The widening of Highway 55 from Fuquay-Varina to Research Triangle Park started in 1999. Now, half of the project is done, and drivers are anxiously awaiting the completion of the other half.

The idea was simple -- turn a clogged two-lane road into a four-lane alternate route from southern Wake County to RTP. Fifteen miles of the project through Apex is complete, but there are another 15 to go.

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"I'm sorry -- that's really what I have to say to that," said Department of Transportation engineer Eben Miller. "I apologize for it. You know, we're doing everything we can do out here."

Miller said trouble with moving utility lines and court battles over rights of way slowed the project significantly.

"Hopefully by the end of this year, at the very latest, we should have everything in the final pattern, which means every lane we're working on, we should be able to get traffic on," he said.

A lot of Highway 55 drivers have complained about vast stretches of brand-new highway that appear to be ready to go. However, all of the traffic is squeezed onto the old section.

"We can't open 1,000 feet of roadway without having the next 1,000 feet done and the next 1,000 feet done, or else we're going to create a bottleneck or an even bigger safety issue," said Miller.

The Snack Shop sits in the middle of the construction zone.

"It's good to apologize to us, because that's going to make a lot of people feel good," said clerk Joey Ellis "But still they need to get the job done."

Engineers couldn't figure out a cost-effective way to get around the railroad overpass in Apex. Highway 55 will remain two lanes in the area around the tracks.


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