It happened without any fanfare or ceremony. On Saturday afternoon, road crews began casually removing hundreds of orange construction barrels from Falls of Neuse Road, making way for traffic to flow in all four lanes and ending a multi-year realignment and widening project.
While some sidewalk work and retaining wall construction continues near Dunn Road at the River Oaks Clubhouse, the new travel lanes, turn lanes and leftover intersections are all open to traffic.
This completes phase two of the Falls of Neuse widening and realignment from Raven Ridge Road to Fonville Road. Construction began on the section in April 2011 and wasn’t scheduled to be completed until May. The phase was budgeted at about $5 million.
Phase one of the project included widening and realigning the road from Fonville Road to New Falls of Neuse Road. Construction on that phase, which cost about $7.5 million, began in June 2010 and ended in October 2011.
Plans to widen and realign the roadway began in earnest in 2009 to handle the growing population and heavy volume of vehicles traveling the Falls of Neuse corridor every day. Early on, there were contentious meetings with residents about how many lanes and traffic signals should be added.
The final product is a four-lane road with a sidewalk on one side and a pedestrian path on the other.
Not every intersection in the construction zone allows for full movement. Several permit right turns only and the option to head in the other direction at so-called leftover entrances. Engineers say that makes the road safer.