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Northeast Raleigh Suffers Growing Pains

Posted November 25, 2006

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— Northeast Raleigh near the newest stretch of Interstate 540 is one of the fastest growing areas in town, but many fear it may be growing too fast for its existing road system.

The latest leg of the highway between Capital and Highway 64 could be open next month.

"I think it's wonderful. My husband works at RTP and lives on 540," said resident Janice Miller.

Drivers aren't the only ones happy. Developers are eagerly staking their claim near the new stretch of interstate. A massive shopping center with nearly 500,000 square feet of retail space is taking shape at Capitol Boulevard and I-540.

Centex is building its largest community near Highway 401 and I-540, and down the road there are plans to turn a 300-acre farm into a yet another community with hundreds of homes, shops and its very own school.

Many worry with so much growth on the horizon, there won't be any room left on the roads.

"Hopefully there will be four lanes on Highway 401 all the way through," said Miller. "That's all I have to say about traffic."

Highway 410 was scheduled for widening in 2009, but the state put the brakes on that project and several others because of a lack of money.

"The main thing is to try to get the general assembly to have a more reasonable formula for how the money is spent, but also making sure that it's being spent fairly. Right now very little state money is being spent on Wake County roads, and that includes the city of Raleigh," said Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker.

As more and more land is cleared, many worry about what's going to happen down the road.

"Like where I came from West Palm Beach it's really going to be a disaster. You don't see it until it happens, then it's too late and you can't correct it," said Carl Mandet, who just moved to Raleigh from Florida nine months ago.

The city of Raleigh is considering three rezoning requests near the new 540. If approved, it would pave the way for nearly 2 million square feet of offices, shops and restaurants. The Raleigh City Council is expected to vote on the requests in January.

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