Senate puts up roadblock to possible highway through Garner

Posted March 10, 2011

— The state Senate voted unanimously Thursday to block transportation officials from considering a controversial route through Garner for an extension of the Triangle Expressway.

Senate Bill 165 was sent to the House, where Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake, said it could be voted on next week.

"This is a road that needs to stop, and (the state Department of Transportation) needs to be told today that it should stop and will stop," Stevens said.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority is selecting a path to complete N.C. Highway 540 in southeastern Wake County. A final decision isn't expected until late 2013.

The authority in November recommended that the so-called "red route" not be used because of the adverse affect it would have on 13 neighborhoods, a church and the town’s primary industrial recruitment area.

Federal transportation officials said, however, that the route must remain under consideration because an endangered species of mussels had been discovered in a creek along the original planned expansion area, known as the "orange route."

The state DOT has pledged to Garner officials that, if federal highway officials select the red route for the highway, the state won't build it. But lawmakers wanted to ensure that the route was off the table.

Stevens noted that it has taken decades for Garner to recover after being split in two by U.S. Highway 70, and homeowners and businesses don't need the threat hanging over them of another highway cutting through the town.

Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, said the legislation would stop DOT from spending $500,000 to study a route that it has no intention of using for a highway.

Sen. Stan White, D-Dare, a former DOT board member, noted that the Army Corps of Engineers requires that at least two proposed routes be studied before it will issue an environmental permit to allow highway construction to begin.

State transportation officials have said the elimination of one route could jeopardize the entire N.C. 540 extension, but Stevens said other routes have been proposed and could be considered.

The southeast portion of N.C. 540 would extend the Triangle Expressway – currently under construction in southwest Wake County – and complete the loop highway around Raleigh. Construction could begin as early as 2018.


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  • The Fox Mar 10, 2011

    The Clayton Bypass had the same mussel issue. It got built. The road is going to be built on the orange route. The Red route has to be considered as an alterative. Read: going Orange route, no Red route, wink, wink, get it? Now Relax.

  • Smart Alex Mar 10, 2011

    hey wadeherrell2 why don't YOU move

  • SaveEnergyMan Mar 10, 2011

    Several routes were on the table originally and all were removed, except the orange route. Then, they found the mussels and the Feds required them to propose another route.

    What I think happened is that NCDOT proposed a route so unpalatable, they knew people would scream and the feds would dismiss it quickly. The feds have figured this out and is making the NCDOT study it anyway. Classic power struggle with the people caught in the middle.

    NCDOT needs to put another, more reasonable, option on the table and the feds need to get off their high horse.

    Garner is not a backwater and most of the neighborhoods being bulldozed would fit nicely in Cary or N Raleigh. They were simply smart enough not to pay the Cary location markup.

    Lake Benson is not a backup water source, it is a primary source with the new treatment plant that has come on-line.

  • etshoney Mar 10, 2011

    See what happens when elect a few Republicans and take power away from the boys who thought they could do anything they wanted and no one would care!!!! Vote Republican in 2012

  • rnrcp Mar 10, 2011

    Hopefully if it is passed Bev will take the good of the region and the long term impact into account and veto this ridiculous bill. Once again the legislature wasting time when they should be working on the economy and jobs. Maybe if they pushed to get this project going they could get out and recruit more jobs for the region.

  • joco cruiser Mar 10, 2011

    Someone just needs to tell USFWS to go pound sand. Since NCDOT representatives do not represent NCDOT they won't be the ones to do that.

    That's an idea, the General Assembly could create a law that says that forces NCDOT to hire capable people.

  • iamtheyam Mar 10, 2011

    I'm sorry. I couldn't continue reading after: "because of the adverse affect"


  • prn13norm Mar 10, 2011

    Let's make sure we save some poor mussels regardless of how difficult we make life for humans!

  • The Deadhead Mar 10, 2011

    Maybe the Garner Civitan can have a Mussel Fest, instead of an Oyster Fest, this October. Then again, they might have to throw in some oysters along with the 7 or 8 measly dwarf wedge mussels that are out there to be able to feed enough people.

  • wadeherrell2 Mar 10, 2011

    It's not like Garner residents won't receive a check for their land. I need this highway to make my commute easier. Think about rising land value and job creation once the highway is finished.