Right-of-way work on the Highway 42 East widening project caught many drivers off guard on Monday.
The NC Department of Transportation closed one lane at a time while crews were removing trees from the right-of-way between Glen Laurel Road and the Neuse River Bridge. Traffic backed up at least a half mile in each direction as the direction of travel was alternately switched.
Two afternoon accidents on Highway 42 near the entrance to Caterpillar added to the traffic delays. At least two people were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
Many drivers said they were caught off guard by the single lane closure on the heavily traveled two lane road.
Andrew Barksdale, spokesperson for the NC DOT said crews began work Jan. 11th clearing the right-of-way between Glen Laurel Road and Buffalo Road. He said the DOT does not typically put up message boards to alert drivers when only one lane is closed. In this case the closures are restricted to only between 9am and 3pm weekdays.
The DOT said this will avoid morning and afternoon rush hour because of the large volume of traffic on NC 42 East.
The right-of-way clearing is taking place to allow utilities to be relocated before construction begins to widen NC42 from Glen Laurel Road to Buffalo Road in 2019. The total cost of the project is $43.1 million. Photos by John Payne