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The reopening of two lanes of Guilford College Road in western Greensboro has been delayed, the project manager said Thursday.

The road is being widened from two to five lanes between Interstate 40 and West Market Street.The road had to be closed in three places so that 11-foot-wide pipes could be laid underneath the roadway to channel streams and so that some hills could be lowered so drivers could see better.

City officials had hoped that at least one lane in each direction could be reopened this past Monday, when Guilford County schools reopened, so that school buses would not have to take detours. There are three county schools within a mile of the project, and four buses serve the area.

But project manager Tom Fitzmorris of HDR Consulting Engineers said the target date for having one lane open in each direction is now Labor Day. In the meantime, he said, one lane is being kept open so that buses and local traffic can get through.

``We did have a problem when schools opened Monday, but...since then they have maintained one lane open so that we can get school buses through,' said Edwin Carroll, transportation director of the Guilford County schools. ``So has not posed a problem.'

The road, one of west Greensboro's busiest arteries, was carrying more than 18,000 vehicles per day when the project began - well above capacity for a two-lane road, city traffic officials said.

Two factors contributed to the work delay: problems in moving some utilities, and the discovery of soil in the planned path of the road that wouldn't support a roadbed.

Two kinds of Southern Bell cable - fiber-optic, strung on overhead lines, and conventional, buried underground - had to be moved, as did underground gas and water lines.

``We ran into things that either they didn't know were there or they were not as deep (underground) as they had thought,' Fitzmorris said. He praised the cooperation of Southern Bell, Piedmont Natural Gas and the city Public Works Department in helping move lines.

The soil presented another problem - it had to be entirely dug out and then replaced with a different type of soil that would support a roadbed.

Fitzmorris said the delays were unavoidable, but he said he hopes more delays can be avoided if the weather cooperates.

``If we can get through this next week without a lot of rain and get some stone down (on the roadbed) to get it sealed off so it doesn't become a mudhole in the event it does rain, we'll be in good shape,' he said.

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