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I-540 Speeds Growth in Knightdale

Posted June 19, 2007
Updated November 6, 2008

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— Growth has accelerated in Knightdale since the newest leg of Interstate 540 opened earlier this year, with new buildings overlooking newer buildings throughout the town.

Commercial building permits have nearly quadrupled in the last two years, from 38 to 121, while permits for new homes have nearly doubled, Knightdale Planning Director Mike Frangos said.

"The market has followed the opening of the highway, and it has opened eastern Wake County," Frangos said. "Knightdale is now the doorway to eastern Wake. You have to pass through us in order to get anywhere else east, and we want to capitalize on that."

I-540 now runs from Interstate 40 near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport to U.S. Highway 64 Bypass in Knightdale.

The two biggest commercial developments in town history are on the way on either side of I-540. Mid Town Commons will feature stores like Best Buy, Old Navy and Pier One, and Legacy Oaks will boast its own medical center.

Even Knightdale's historic downtown is booming.

"With the new 540 and everything, people still come right down Smithfield Road, take that right, and (come to) all of the businesses down here. Everybody you talk to, business is just great," merchant Donna Garner said.

But some longtime residents, like Ava Straughn, said they prefer the old days, when Knightdale was a crossroads community.

"It's so heartbreaking. We don't have any good neighbors anymore," said Straughn, who has lived in Knightdale since 1930.

Town officials said they feel for residents like Straughn, but Knightdale's future is riding on the highway.


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  • supermom2 Jun 20, 2007

    I do hope that the state will not allow business to build right at I-540, like they have allowed development to build on other bypasses...this is what a by-pass is for...to go around a town. This is what happened in Knightdale, and the reason 540 was needed...and now the state will be allowing development on the new hwy 98 by-pass in Wake Forest. I think whom ever developes property along by-passes should not be allowed to adjoin the by-pass..they should be made to provide thier own road leading to the nearest stop light that already exist. Developing another town along a by-pass is defeating the purpose the by-pass was put there in the first place. It is time to start using common sense.

  • iam5of7 Jun 20, 2007

    My wife and I have lived in Knightdale since 1991, population 1700. It has grown, and I do miss the small town it was. I have mixed feelings have growth versus no-growth. I will have to say, though, I have great neighbors, I love my church and friends there, and can't think of a good reason to leave.

  • wolfmandan Jun 20, 2007

    I use to live in Knightdale and loved it. 540 or not..Its still a great place to live.

  • krazi_katt Jun 20, 2007

    I don't know about not having any good neighbors. Both my mother and I live in Knightdale and both of us have incredible neighbors!