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Leaders says Fayetteville's growing, needs DOT funding

Posted January 6, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Fayetteville leaders and community members said Tuesday they have waited their turn for state funding to help pay for construction on Interstate 295 around the city, and it's their turn.

Mayor Tony Chavonne, members of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, and the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and representatives from Fort Bragg were answering complaints about the state Board of Transportation's recent decision to allocate $275 million over six years to build an 8.1-mile stretch of the 36-mile outer loop.

I-295 funding justified, Fayetteville says I-295 funding justified, Fayetteville says

"We followed the rules. We've done the work," Chavonne said. "We shouldn't be penalized because we have done it right, because we speak today with one voice or because we're not in Raleigh or in Charlotte."

Although a state budget shortfall has put the project on hold indefinitely, transportation leaders in both Raleigh and Charlotte, which also have urban loop projects under way, have argued that funding to complete their projects should be a higher priority because they need their roads more than Fayetteville needs its road.

Last month, a Charlotte transportation official sent a letter to the incoming Obama administration asking it to freeze federal funding.

R. Lee Myers, chairman of the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization, claims the state board's decision was based on politics rather than needs. The state Senate's majority leader, Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, and outgoing Department of Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett are from the Fayetteville area.

But there is need, Fayetteville-area officials said.

Chavonne and others say the I-295 loop is a vital component to the economic development of the area, as well as to security at Fort Bragg.

Col. David Fox, garrison commander of Fort Bragg, said the Army plans to close Bragg Boulevard on post to the public and that completing the 8.1-mile stretch from Ramsey Street to the All-American Freeway would allow traffic to be diverted onto Murchison Road.

The highway would also serve as a direct line to Interstate 95 for convoys leaving the military base.

"We have to move all that equipment through the local streets and neighborhoods to get to the highway," Fox said.

Since 2001, the military has moved more than 25,000 truckloads of equipment and personnel from the base. Having no direct line, Fox said, hinders the Army's ability to deploy rapidly in times of war or natural disasters.

Growth is another reason the funding is needed.

Chavonne said about 40,000 people could move to the area in the next few years as two Army command headquarters move to Fort Bragg from the Atlanta area.

DOT officials say those factors led to the decision to allocate more money to Fayetteville's I-295 than other urban loops received. Charlotte received $104 million over the next six years for the Interstate 485 loop, and Wake County received $5 million for the Interstate 540/N.C. Highway 540 loop.

Through 2008, however, I-485 received $1.05 billion, and I-540 received $757 million. I-295 got $66 million.

10 Comments

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  • killerkestrel Jan 7, 11:45 a.m.

    There are five main access roads to the beach. From north to south they are US 158, US 64, US 70, I-40, and US 74. The General Assembly passed a law years ago to get four lane divided highways running across the state so everyone would have great access to the rest of the state and nation to help transportation and commerce. Yes, these rural highways don't get as much traffic as the urban highways, but they don't as much either. Also, these five highways mentioned earlier provide access for the Triangle, Triad, and Charlotte to the beach. Last I checked, the beach wasn't nowhere, and gets plenty of traffic on holidays.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 7, 11:27 a.m.

    Tippett and Rand are once again building roads to nowhere down east that aren't needed. Spend the money in Triangle and Charlotte where the population is large enough to need these roads.

    A classic example of a road to nowhere is US-64 east of Rocky Mount. You encounter no other cars for mile on this 4 lane interstate.

    We need to get away from the good ol boy politics and spent the highway money where it's needed, not where it's wanted.

    If Fayetteville wants I-295 so bad, let them build it as a toll road.

    This is the solution that Rand and Tippett gave the Triangle for I-540 from Morrisville to Knightdale.

  • killerkestrel Jan 7, 8:54 a.m.

    The contracts are put open for bid, and the qualified low bid contractor gets the job. Construction costs have skyrocketed over the last 5 or so years. So even though the cost might seem high for I-295, that's because the contractors are charging more, not because they are getting bigger road than Raleigh or Charlotte.

  • FE Jan 6, 9:59 p.m.

    I smell a little pork from Sen. Rand and others.

    (You better believe in an emergency there are PLENTY of roads in Fayetteville that could be used to reach the "distant" I-95 !! )

    FE

  • areadriver Jan 6, 9:40 p.m.

    If the Army convoys are really an issue, why can't they work with Fayettevill police to close intersections and just keep on rolling through like they do with oversize loads and funeral processions? I think the "need" for the road is overexagerated, just a little.

  • woodrowboyd2 Jan 6, 9:29 p.m.

    obama is on his way

    every bloge iv read tonight is about needing money

    i need it as well

    do you see me begging

  • pbjbeach Jan 6, 9:10 p.m.

    I certainaly hope that when the new bypass around fayetteville gets let to contract that the inspections performed by the inspector will be handled by state inspectors an not by some privately held company such as the ones that the new an incomming seceratary of transportation was previously employeed by

  • commonsensenc Jan 6, 8:42 p.m.

    NC highways are like the $500 standard federal hammer, if they give them the money maybe they won't have to fix it in the first years or so like I-40.

  • PaulRevere Jan 6, 8:08 p.m.

    275 million for 8.1 miles of road over a 6 year period. Let me translate NCDOT projections for ya: 750 million for 3 miles of road over 13 years.

  • joco cruiser Jan 6, 8:05 p.m.

    Well, Tippett may be out but they still have the Rand man to suck the money in.