Rolesville businesses worry about impact of bypass
Posted September 12, 2011
Updated September 13, 2011
Rolesville, N.C. — As crews clear trees to begin construction of a U.S. Highway 401 bypass around Rolesville, local business owners are keeping their fingers crossed that the new highway won't steer their customers away.
Construction on the $25 million Rolesville Bypass is expected to be completed by July 2014. Michigan-based Devere Construction will build a 5.8-mile, four-lane highway between Louisbury Road and N.C. Highway 96, wrapping round Rolesville's south side.
Herbert Eddins, who owns the Rolesville Flea Market, said the bypass is good news for some and bad news for others.
"If you're trying to get to Raleigh fast, it'll help you. If you've got a business in Rolesville, I can't see where it well help you," Eddins said.
Population in Rolesville quadrupled between 2000 and 2010, to about 3,600, leading to traffic congestion on U.S. 401 through downtown, said Mitch Neal, president of the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce. The highway narrows to two lanes, and the speed limit drops from 55 to 35 mph in town.
"With the elementary school here on Main Street, it does get backed up quite a bit," Neal said.
Eddins said he hopes his flea market and other destination businesses will be OK once the bypass opens. The highway is the price of progress, and Rolesville can afford it, he said.
"It's just hard to be against progress. Other towns survive it. We can, too," he said.
The Rolesville Bypass is the next phase of a larger project to widen U.S. 401 from Interstate 540 to N.C. Highway 39 in Louisburg. Crews are almost finished widening the highway between Mitchell Mill Road and Louisbury Road.