Driving on the New Overpass

By: Candace White
By: Candace White

Wednesday was the first full day for drivers to use the new Thomas Drive and Highway 98 overpass project. For the most part, everything went smoothly.

There were a few problems with the morning commute. On the first day of travel, things looked to be moving smoothly.

Leisa Weiser said, "Real easy. I thought it would take a little bit longer to get across, but it was easy."

Easy and open, a far cry from the traffic jams we're used to seeing.

Stephen Dykes, a GCCC student, said, "Used to, it'd get backed up going to PCB, especially around spring break time it gets congested, and it kinda opens everything up."

Traffic wasn't a problem on the new lanes, but Tuesday morning did bring some big headaches for drivers heading west on Highway 98.

Tommy Speights of the Department of Transportation said, "We had a malfunction in our signal cabin that would not allow the signal here at Thomas Drive to function properly, and consequently it began to back up traffic and the rush hour began."

Police came out to get traffic moving at a snail's pace, and workers finally corrected all of the traffic signal’s problems.

Now the big issue is making sure drivers use the new roadways safely.

Police and transportation officials warn drivers to stick below 45 miles an hour, because technically the project is still listed as a construction site.

The Department of Transportation is predicting the bottleneck at the intersection of 23rd Street and Highway 98 will grow. They're in the early stages of designing another major project to improve that congestion, but that project hasn't been funded.


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