$30 M Cary Widening Project Expected To Take Two Years

Posted October 5, 2004 9:20 a.m. EDT

— The U.S. 1 corridor through Cary is one of the most clogged commuter routes in the Triangle. Traffic counts there are greater than many points along Interstate 40 in the Research Triangle Park area.

Fixing the trouble will bring tremendous relief to thousands of drivers, but it will come at the expense of a few.

The latest DOT traffic count shows 93,000 commuters pass U.S. 1 near Walnut Street every day. Starting this spring, the Department of Transportation will add an extra lane on each side of U.S. 1 from Walnut Street to Tryon Road. They will also re-work the ramp from U.S. 1 to Walnut Street.

"This is similar to the beltline. We worked on the inner beltline years ago, and like that, everybody sees the need. We're glad to get out there and get it done as quick as we can," DOT engineer DeWayne Sykes said.

The re-worked ramp will cut right through Fairlane Road and right through Larry Hollis' neighborhood.

"It's probably going to be 20 feet from my fence," Hollis said. "We're going to have five lanes of traffic on a ramp immediately behind our house on our property line. We're not happy about it."

The U.S. 1 south exit onto Walnut Street is a cramped, clogged, confusing five-way interchange. The new ramp that goes through the neighborhood will replace it.

'You fight your battles and we fought this battle. Looks like this is one we've lost," Hollis said.

The small, quiet neighborhood did lose a battle, but the DOT says the changes are worth it. Engineers say the 93,000 commuters who use the road now will jump to 100,000 before the road work is finished.

The road work should begin next spring and is expected to last two years. No lanes will be shut down during rush hours. The price tag is $30 million.