CROUSE â€“ People are usually happy when new roads are put near where they live and work.
Thatâ€™s not the case for one recent project, a four-lane bypass in Crouse. Construction woes have left some residents with bad tastes in their mouths.
Claudine Elmore lives on Pleasant Grove Church Road and said the project has â€œreally messed people up.â€
â€œThe traffic here is horrible,â€ said Elmore. â€œI see a lot of big 18-wheelers go through here.â€
Elmore lives two houses away from the four-lane road. She said workers on the project left her yard and driveway in a mess.
â€œThey never came to fix what they messed up,â€ she said.
Construction barrels now line the sides of the road as work continues on the project.
Also, part of N.C. 150 is blocked off traveling west.
Sharon Williams lives down the street from the construction barrier that encompasses one lane of the highway.
â€œItâ€™s hard for people here to get around,â€ she said. â€œI know a lot of people that work in Cherryville and Lincolnton, and they just donâ€™t know where to go when driving through here.â€
Summer Martin was at Crouseâ€™s One Stop getting gas and said the directions to get to the bypass are poorly signed.
William Lovelace lives across from the Elmores and said heâ€™s had major problems.
â€œWe used to be level out here but now thereâ€™s a mound of gravel and dirt in our yard,â€ he said
He added that when the Department of Transportation originally placed N.C. 150 signs for the completed part of the project, instead of east and west, the signs were north and south.
â€œI was also supposed to have a turn around,â€ said Lovelace. â€œWith that type of hill, the DOT could have easily paved the driveway instead of using gravel.â€
Lovelace has seen cars pull out of the four-lane accidentally cutting off tractor trailers.
â€œItâ€™s a disaster waiting to happen,â€ said Lovelace. â€œItâ€™s no joke.â€
According to DOT resident engineer Larry Carpenter, the project cost nearly $7 million. Work started on in January 2004 and should be finished by the end of July.
Jackie McSwain, DOT district engineer, referred questions regarding Lovelace and Elmoreâ€™s complaints to Steve Whisenant with the right-of-way department; calls from Whisenant were not returned.
Meanwhile as the work goes on with the project, Williams said traveling may get easier when the project is finished.
Residents, like Elmore, continue to question the project as a whole.
â€œWhy did we have to have a four-lane here in the first place,â€ she asked.
by Jon Mayhew