Midtown Raleigh News

Falls of Neuse widening ahead of schedule

An end is in sight for the Falls of Neuse Road construction project.

While crews work on phase two of the realignment and widening of one of North Raleigh’s busy arteries, project manager Sylvester Percival is watching the calendar, and he likes what he sees.

“We’re ahead of schedule,” Percival said. “If all goes as planned, we think we can complete most of the work in a February time frame or even earlier.”

Original plans were to finish in May 2013.

Phase two of the project is going on now between Raven Ridge Road and Lowery Farm Road. Crews are building a four-lane roadway with a pedestrian path on one side and a sidewalk on the other. Because the new outside lanes were recently paved, traffic has been steered onto them.

“Now that we’ve switched traffic, we have the luxury of working in the middle,” Percival said.

Road crews are still just steps away from passing cars, but Percival said working in the space between the lanes will reduce what had been frequent lane closures.

That is welcome news to those who live in the neighborhoods that front the Falls of Neuse construction zone.

“I go the back way every time just to avoid it,” said North Raleigh resident Jenn Nowalk. “I know the back way will be longer mileage-wise, but at least I’m moving and I won’t be 10 minutes late to pick up my kids.”

In the past few days, work has centered around building a retaining wall between the River Oaks neighborhood clubhouse and the new lanes of Falls of Neuse. While a crane worked on the wall, traffic signals in front of the Bedford at Falls River neighborhood were disabled and Raleigh police were called in to direct traffic.

Percival says delays will still come up for specific construction situations like that one, and he is asking drivers to be vigilant about safety. “We’re seeing speeding and reckless driving,” Percival said. “We’d ask motorists to be mindful of the folks working in the corridor and help us out by slowing down a bit.”

The Falls of Neuse realignment and widening project was approved by the Raleigh City Council in 2009 to alleviate traffic congestion on the two-lane section of the road.

Phase one, which was completed in October 2011, realigned Falls of Neuse Road from Fonville Road to New Falls of Neuse Road, and included the construction of two new bridges across the Neuse River. The first phase of the $13 million project was also completed early.

Motorists are looking forward to the day when construction is finished and all four lanes are open.

“It will be awesome when complete, but it’s painful now,” said Wendy Gardner, who lives near the construction zone. “I just try to stay off that part of it.”