Sunday, April 14, 2013

Road construction ahead... and behind

You can't get there from here.

Not if you live in Lexington.

Suddenly, it seems, somebody is fiddling with Lexington's road map.

The still uncompleted bridge over Abbotts Creek. Be patient.
If you try to get out of town by going on East Center Street Extension (ECSE), you're primarily rerouted to Raleigh Road because of the construction of a new bridge over Abbotts Creek. I haven't quite figured this one out. I always thought the East Center Street Extension bridge was in pretty decent shape. It was the old, uncomfortably narrow bridge on Raleigh Road near the prison that needed immediate help.

If a car, or God forbid, an 18-wheeler, is coming in the opposite direction and reaches the Raleigh Road bridge at the same time you do, I bet you: a) physically hold you breath; b) mentally hold your breath; c) subconsciously hold your breath; d) close your eyes; e) all of the above.

Construction on the ECSE bridge is expected to be completed sometime in May. Then work can begin on the Raleigh Road bridge.

Meanwhile, there is no bridge at the other end of town. Be patient.
Meanwhile, if you try to get out of town on West Center Street, forget it. They've knocked down the old curvy bridge (Highway 64 west, otherwise known as Mocksville Road) that spanned Business I-85, so now you're rerouted to either the service road in front of Lexington Barbecue — is that Smokehouse Lane? — or to West Center Street Extension to Forest Hill Road before you can track your way back to Parkway Ford, Food Lion and Rite Aid.

Another option is to go out Fifth Avenue to approach Forest Hill Road from that direction. More on that in a moment.

That area definitely needed work. The whole package of merges, egresses and yields there needed some serious rethinking. For now, at least, I'm not too enamored with the thought process. And who knows how long this construction will take? I suspect I may not see its completion in my lifetime, and I plan on being here for a least another decade or two.

There's probably a five-mile stretch between the two Center Street bridge constructions. It just strikes me as a little odd that both these projects would be going on at the same time while tying knots at both ends of town.

But wait, there's more. Remember Fifth Avenue? It's usually a significant artery in town anyway. And now, with the bridge construction over Business I-85, it's a major detour route into and out of Lexington.

Or rather, it was. On Monday, they start resurfacing Fifth Avenue, from Business I-85 to Main Street.

Brilliant, right?

Oh, wait. Shorty after that, they'll be resurfacing Main Street.

Making a left-hand turn at the Square. Be careful.
And, of course, Main Street intersects Center Street at the Square, where you can now make left-hand turns for the first time — in what, ever? Or at least for the first time in most of our memories.

Some folks are excited about this development, others not so much. I'm approaching all of this cautiously and with some reservations. These left turns are still an experiment being conducted by NCDOT to test its feasibility (All of these simultaneous ongoing projects are NCDOT efforts, by the way). As it stands right now, there is no dedicated left-turn lane, and no left-turn arrows on the stoplights. I think there's already been at least one accident there. In an era that features way too many roadway distractions, not the least of which is texting while driving, messing with left-hand turns at the Square is like messing with Satan — who apparently is working for NCDOT.

1 comment: