Traffic

Residents fighting proposed U.S. 64 expansion

Posted June 4, 2009

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— A group of Apex and Cary residents are fighting a state Department of Transportation proposal to expand a stretch of U.S. Highway 64 that runs through their towns into an expressway.

The U.S. 64 expansion begins at the U.S. 64 Business/U.S. 64 Bypass Interchange, east of Pittsboro in Chatham County, and extends east to the U.S. 1/U.S. Highway 64 interchange in Cary in Wake County.

Apex, Cary residents oppose expanding U.S. 64 Apex, Cary residents oppose expanding U.S. 64

It includes 2 miles across Jordan Lake, and is approximately 1,000 feet on each side of U.S. 64.

The two-phase plan, as it currently stands, would mean restricting left turns and putting in U-turns for better traffic flow anywhere from five to 10 years.

The second phase would turn a two-mile stretch from U.S. 64/U.S. 1 in Cary to Laura Duncan Road in Apex into an elevated highway, meaning interstate traffic flows on the top road with local access underneath. It would take an additional 10 to 25 years to complete.

"It's really to develop a master plan to guide growth and development along this corridor," Dave Wasserman, a DOT project engineer, said of the plan.

A team of DOT staff, Apex, Cary, Wake County and Chatham County officials, developed the plan, which is in its early stages and has no sources of funding. The DOT says a rough cost estimate would be about $400 million but that the cost would likely change.

"This is one of the better solutions out there," Wasserman said.

Wasserman said that traffic in the area will only get worse and that it is focusing on U.S. 64 between Cary and Pittsboro because it is another route from Raleigh to Charlotte.


View U.S. 64 expansion in a larger map


Some residents and business owners have started a blog, save64.org, to help raise awareness of the project and have been collecting signatures in an effort to stop the project.
"It's just going to be bring more traffic into the area – more pollution, air and noise," said Cary resident Danny Epstein.

Some business owners along the highway, however, said they worry that despite increased traffic, they believe they would see customer traffic drop because of the proposed expressway.

"The traffic will have to go down access roads to come back into our business," said Michael Windle, who owns Scruffy Duck Wash at U.S. 64 and Laura Duncan Road.. "That'll have an impact on people's convenience."

Windle also said he believes N.C. Highway 540 should be completed first and act as a bypass.

Driver safety, especially among young motorists, is another concern. Apex High School is also right off U.S. 64 on Laura Duncan Road.

"You have the youngest drivers in the business, and now, you're going to make this road a little more dangerous?" Apex resident Edwin Yarter said.

DOT officials point out that the 2-mile elevated expressway would mean speeds of 45 to 55 mph, while higher speeds would be on the remaining 17 miles.

Public opinion on the proposal ends June 5 but the DOT does plan to host a community meeting on the issue in July. A time, date and location have not been set.

"We want to make sure everyone's involved and engaged with the study." Wasserman said.

Epstein said the issue is worth the fight to preserve the way of life in the area.

He said it is important that roads stay in character with the residential and business areas and that an elevated expressway will divide the community.

"There's nobody in this community that wants to see this expressway in 50 years or 100 years," he said. "This is not a vision of what's good for the community."

32 Comments

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  • RLW Jun 5, 2009

    Just to enlight folks on the process. The project is in the long-range planning stage. There is still a whole lot more detailed planning and design to be done. People also need to realize that this project is many years away and..540 to south of Holly Springs will be complete. In regards to 540 acting as a bypass. These two facilities go in two different directions. US 64 facilitates the E-W movement towards Raleigh..serving Raleigh bound commuters and through traffic. 540 would not facilitate this movement without a round about trip up 540 then back down 40. Ultimately the growth in SW Wake is going to require some type of improvement to US 64. There is an opportunity to do what wasn't done to Capital Boulevard and that is to control access. Imagine Capital if it was made into a expressway with service roads. Traffic would still move..and people would still be able to access business..during rush hour. Typically DOT is is behind the 8ball...atleast they are being forward thinking.

  • IzzMad2016 Jun 5, 2009

    If it eases congestion on 64 then I'm all for it. So many businesses in the Laura Duncan area have closed....I'd think those that are still there would be in favor of this.

  • Bendal1 Jun 5, 2009

    The first stage is what DOT calls a "superstreet" design. Basically, all the 4 way intersections will be converted to "right in, right out" types, but separate left turn/U-turn openings in the median will be provided away from the intersection itself. This was done on US 15-501 between Durham and Chapel Hill and was a huge success. It's also been done on US 17 south of Wilmington.

    The second stage, which may take a while before it happens, is the conversion of the road to an expressway. That's the "ultimate" design and isn't scheduled to be done any time soon, it's just what DOT believes the road should look like for the best practical use.

  • killerkestrel Jun 5, 2009

    I think it is a good idea to change it to an expressway. Then one would be able to get through there, and perhaps shop!

  • Professor Jun 5, 2009

    If there is a need the state will do it. I say go ahead NC state, we need new roads.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Jun 5, 2009

    I find it odd they didn't know about this. I knew about I-540 and the new mall YEARS before they ever broke ground(in fact it was in the works before I was even born!) so I think someone is fibbing to get some sympathy in this situation

  • hi_i_am_wade Jun 5, 2009

    This is a good idea but not now. There are many MANY M-A-N-Y more projects that are much more important. I-540. I-140 in Wilmington. I-485 in Charlotte (part of that road is still 2 lanes). I-95 needs a new lane border-to-border. Have you ever drove I-95 during a holiday rush? Especially around Smithfield? Florida and Georgia made or is making I-95 at least 3 lanes. Moving on, lets not forget about a Bonner Bridge replacement. And I could go on.

    The point is, other projects are more important and this should be a low priority.

  • piperchuck Jun 5, 2009

    "If the DOT was so upfront about this proposal, they should have contacted the home owners that would be affected, they did not. None of my neighbors, or myself received notice prior to the signs put up by Save64.org. There was no notice on the town website. So much for transperancy in goverment."

    What are you expecting, a personal invite from the head of the DOT? They've been holding public sessions on this for quite a while now. Perhaps if you expanded your horizons past "the town website" you'd be better informed!

  • Frank Downtown Jun 5, 2009

    The entire strech needs to become a free way with limited access.

  • build540.com Jun 5, 2009

    It took 20 years to get started on the Western leg of 540. Don't hold your breath for this!

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