Growing pains swirl around Bragg

September 30, 2009 4:02:34 AM PDT
The military's base realignment plan is expected to bring thousands of new residents to the Fort Bragg area.However, there is a problem; current residents do not like the plan, so DOT engineers are pushing to ease traffic congestion.

Commuters say on a good day, rush hour traffic in Spring Lake is bad.

"It's pretty crazy, [you] have people running lights. It's hard to get in and out when you are trying to go," Fort Bragg soldier Rashad Jones said. "Something needs to be done about the traffic."

On Tuesday, traffic consultants showed off their plans for managing what many residents say will be a flood of traffic as the Army's BRAC plan will bring in thousands of new residents.

Those plans are also changing the landscape around the base - starting with the path of the new 295 bypass. By 2011, the new bypass is expected to funnel tens of thousands of cars a day from Bragg Boulevard to Murchison Road and ultimately Spring Lake.

DOT engineers want to widen the main road through town into an 11 lane super-highway, but many residents fear that will just make things worse.

"Oh it's horrible. You sit at the light for like 15 minutes and then the light wants to turn red again when you finally get there," Spring Lake resident Summer Russell said.

The consultant's plan calls for some road widening, adding access points into Bragg, and a bypass boulevard similar to Cary Parkway that will cost less than the state's plans.

Many town residents think it's a good deal.

"We will get the people who to go home, home, and we get the people who want to stay and shop in town to shop," Spring Lake business owner Don Crowdis said.

For now, the DOT's road widening plan is unfunded. The hope is to sell the idea to DOT engineers before it's too late.

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