GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Greensboro Urban Loop project continues to cut through cherished countryside, leaving those in the neighboring homes in “wait and see” mode, as those who live out of the site’s sight anxiously await the new, shorter routes it promises.
“Take the dog out you can see the crane back there,” said Souleymon Bah, who lives in The Bluffs neighborhood, which is between Regents Park Lane and Lake Jeanette Road.
In recent days, the forest which once stretched to the back fences of homes on Bluff Run Drive were toppled. Soon, the only trunks residents will see there will be on the backs of automobiles.
“They said 200 feet,” Bah said, referring to how close his family believed the project would be. “That doesn’t look like 200 feet.”
Miles away near Lees Chapel Road, Jerry Jones and his family have watched as their neighbors moved out, with one of their homes being turned into a NCDOT field office as others were torn down.
“Perfect country setting when we moved out here,” Jones said. “A little bit different now.”
Jones says the heavy equipment arrived in his neighborhood about a year ago and has stalled of late due to the weather.
“We thought we’d probably be dead and gone before it got here,” said Jones, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years. “We may be dead and gone before it’s finished at the rate they’re going.”
Further east, near Brightwood School Road, many in the project’s path were still unaware of how close the road would be to their back porches.
“They told us that they were building the highway but it would be at least a mile, mile and a half off the back of our lot,” said Jay Horne, who lives on Blue Rock Court.
Two cleared ends of the project look to be connected in the woods directly behind Horne’s home. DOT officials say clearing should begin there by the time spring breaks.
“I probably would have thought a little more into it if I’d known it was going to be that close,” he said.
The DOT says the stretch of the loop from Lawndale Drive to Elm Street is the priority. The section between Lawndale and Battleground Avenue, which has been underway for several months, is expected to be open to traffic by late 2019 or early 2020.
The area behind The Bluffs, which is on the same side of the road as a small stretch of Regents Park Lane exposed to the project, will not have a sound wall constructed, according to the DOT.
The stretch of the highway along Bluff Run is expected to be 30 feet below the homes there.
“It’s gonna hit the property value pretty hard because it’s literally right behind the house,” Bah said.
The land included in the project has been protected since 1996, the DOT says.
They add the project should be completed in its entirety by 2023, but they are working with contractors to speed up the process and say there is hope the project could be done by late 2021 or 2022.