Durham’s East End Connector Project to Ease Congestion

Lauren Atkins

The new East End Connector in Durham may only be 3.9 miles in length, but it’s also a massive project that’s been years in the making. Construction finally began in February of 2015. Proposals suggest that it will be finished in 2019. However, for people living and working in the area, the project has already had a major impact on their lives.

As the highways currently exist, there is a gap between U.S. 70 and N.C. 147, also known as the Durham Freeway. The two highways are the major east to west routes through Durham. As such, they carry a heavy load of traffic that includes both commuters and truckers. Because the two are not connected, drivers are forced to rely on city streets to move from one highway to the other. This creates major traffic congestion on these streets, and officials believe that this has meant an increase in accidents in Durham. Moreover, it’s believed that Durham will continue to grow in the next several decades, and that this growth will contribute to the congestion issues. The East End Connector, which will likely be called Interstate 885 someday, is expected to relieve these problems.

The idea for an East End Connector is nothing new. City planners may have had such an improvement in mind back in the 1960s when the Durham freeway was being designed. By the 1970s, the NCDOT had made the connector an official project, but it was shelved for decades over budgeting and priority issues.

The problems have been cleared up and a New York company called Dragados USA Inc. won the bidding war to construct the project. As designed, Interstate 885 will not only feature two lanes of travel in each direction, but also will include space for a third lane should it become necessary in the future. Another portion of the project involves upgrading U.S. 70 between Pleasant Drive and N.C. 98. This part of the project will redesignate this section of U.S. 70 as a freeway.

Like many NCDOT projects, this one involved numerous eminent domain actions. Many home and business owners along the route received communications from the NCDOT notifying them that their property was likely to be affected by the proposed construction. Property owners began receiving these notifications in 2012, and many of them have been involved in negotiations since this initial communication.

Property owners who are affected by a government road project like the East End Connector are entitled to just compensation for the taking of their property. Unfortunately, the NCDOT doesn’t always use the correct formula for arriving at the value of that property. That’s why it’s so important to have the eminent domain lawyers at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog working for you. The practitioners at this North Carolina firm have extensive experience with condemnation law and are prepared to help people who may be forced to give up some or all of their property for a government highway project.

When the NCDOT contacts you, it’s important that you know your rights. The eminent domain lawyers at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog can help you understand your rights and fight for the compensation you’re entitled to in a condemnation action.

Lauren AtkinsDurham’s East End Connector Project to Ease Congestion