Cary, N.C. — This will be the last Christmas at home for Judy and Roy Howell. The new part of the Interstate 540/N.C. Highway 540 loop will run through their Wake County property, forcing them to move.
Completing the loop will connect communities in the southern half of the county, including Apex, Holly Springs, Garner and Clayton.
While the loop will be a convenience for others, the Howells are sad to be leaving their home. They spent Christmas day reminiscing about their time there.
“I love to decorate my tree, that is my favorite part,” Judy Howell said of Christmas.
“Forty-one years here. It’s the only place my kids know to call home,” Roy Howell said. “It’s going to be the last year at home.”
Every year, Christmas is spent at the Howell’s house with family and friends. However, that longstanding tradition comes to an end this year.
“It's not bitter sweet. It’s bitter, but I understand progress and I know it has got to go,” Roy Howell said.
Crews have already started clearing the way for the new I-540 toll road in the western part of the county. Dozens of homes and businesses are in the path, including the Howell’s house.
Roy Howell said he received an offer for his property in October, he countered and is waiting to hear back.
“We know it is coming, and it is coming fast and we know we probably have to be out by March or April,” Roy Howell said.
The Howell family plans on taking a lot of memories with them when the move.
“Good memories, good memories. A lot of good memories,” Judy Howell said.
Once families settle on an amount for their property, they typically have 90 days to move out.
The 12.5 mile toll portion of I-540 to Holly Springs is expected to be complete in three years.