Drivers fret over downtown Durham road work

DURHAM (WTVD) -- The thudding sound of tires hitting the pavement has some drivers in downtown Durham worried about the wear and tear on their cars. Since its major repaving project in 2010, the city and the NC Department of Transportation have managed multiple road projects in Durham, forcing drivers to dodge orange barrels, barriers and road blocks for a while.

"I hope they can go ahead and improve them so we can travel safely, and not tear up our vehicles," said one driver at the intersection of Morgan and Rigsbee Streets.

"It's dangerous," added another driver near the intersection of Dillard and Liberty Streets where a deep pot hole has surfaced.

Risk Management Division received 58 complaints from drivers who claimed road conditions damaged their vehicles. The city paid for 9 of those claims totaling $8,860.31. This year, the city has doled out $1,901.12 after denying 33 out of 36 drivers car repair reimbursements.

"Most are denied either because the damage did not occur in a city maintained street or because the city did not have prior notice of the hazardous condition," explained Finance Director David Boyd in an email.

The road complaints and road work will continue as the city completes its water main replacement project.


Crews are replacing waterlines installed in 1907 with larger more efficient pipes. As they complete their work on city-owned streets, they will resurface some roads in need of a makeover.

"Progress can be slow," said Bryant Green with Durham Water Management, adding that crews have to work around existing infrastructure under the road.

The NCDOT will repave downtown streets maintained by the state after each phase of the waterline project is complete.

"One of the big impetuses for doing this project now is that the DOT is planning to resurface Morgan Street starting at Mangum, all the way through Holloway all the way to Great Jones," said Bryant Green with Durham Water Management. "They're actually getting ready to resurface Ramseur in the next few weeks now that our waterline work on Ramseur is done."

The resurfacing work can't come soon enough for drivers who frequent the downtown area. Some understand the work will take time.

"They're doing the best they can," said one driver. "It's kind of like driving a golf cart."

Drivers who want to report potholes should contact Durham One Call online or at (919) 560-1200. The other bumps in the road will take more time. The city's water line project is expected to last 18 months.

"I think drivers in the end will see a noticeable improvement in the condition of the downtown roads once this project is finished," said Green.

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