Officials break ground on U.S. 401 widening project

Posted March 11, 2010

Orange barrels / highway construction generic

— State and county officials broke ground Thursday on a 2.3-mile widening project that will help make the commute into Raleigh faster for thousands of motorists who travel on U.S. Highway 401.

The $8.6 million project will turn the two-lane stretch form Ligon Mill to Louisbury roads in northeast Wake County into a four-lane, divided highway with additional traffic signals and noise walls.

U.S. 401 widening brings concerns U.S. 401 widening brings concerns

The project is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is expected to create about 50 jobs. Construction is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2011.

When complete, it is also expected to provide new business opportunities and help alleviate traffic congestion.

Residents in the area have been asking for the expansion for years because of growth.

"This particular stretch of 401 has received a tremendous amount of growth over the last 10 years, and it's expected to double in the next 15 years," state Department of Transportation Chief Operating Officer Jim Trogdon said.

County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tony Gurley said it's long overdue.

"The need to repair and add roads demonstrates firsthand the continued growth and development taking place here in Wake County," Gurley said.

Wake County has been ranked the ninth fastest growing in the United States, Gurley said, drawing in nearly 36,000 people from July 2008 to July 2009 – about 98 new residents per day.

State projections put Wake, with a population of approximately 900,000, on a path to surpass Mecklenburg County as the most populated in the state.

"The projections indicate that this trend will continue and exceed 1 million residents by 2013," Gurley said.

Residents welcome the widening, which is part of a six-phase plan to widen 20 miles of U.S. 401 from Raleigh to Louisburg.

"It should help a lot," said Carolyn Muskin, who lives in a nearby subdivision, where more homes are being built. "They've put in a new subdivision. It's always hard to get out there."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • manofjustice Mar 12, 2010

    This is very exciting for the residents. I am excited for them and I don't live anywhere near the proposed expansion. So Raleigh is going to be larger than Charlotte in the next year or 2? We will be needing more buses and a rapid rail very soon if not needed 10 years ago. What is the hold up? I am just filled with tears over this breaking news. Have a blessed weekend everyone. I loves you all.

  • Reader X Mar 12, 2010

    Personally I moved out to the country to get away from the city. Now I need to think about moving again. I feel bad for the farmers that are forced to sell part of their land and have a highway divide thier property. So much for the American farmer.

  • 5-113 FA Retired Mar 12, 2010

    If you take a look at the neighborhoods that will benefit from the 401 upgrade,

    Ok, I invest in the "I'm better than you are" neighborhoods between Mitchell Mill and Rolesville. For me to get onto 401 going south, I need to disregard the safety of others by pulling out in front of southbound traffic. Widening the raod from two lanes to four will create twice as many unsafe opportunities to cause a serious accident.

    I live in Franklin County and work mostly in the Raleigh area but I changed by travel route of going through Rolesville (Knightdale wanna-be) by taking NC 96 through Zebulon. This is a much better (safet) route to avoid the idiots just south of Rolesville.

    It's just a matter of time before Raleigh will consume the entire County. All I want from Wake County is a place to work and make money for the next 8 years When I retire, I can think of no reason to ever go there again.

  • Leonardo Mar 12, 2010


    You're somewhat right. The stimulus money is technically 'stealing' jobs from the future. In the end, it's pretty much a wash if you're only counting jobs. But what stimulus spending DOES do is level out the highs and lows in the natural boom-bust cycle of the economy. If you pay back that stimulus money during a boom cycle, then those 'stolen' jobs aren't going to be missed as much, because they'll be taken from a period of low unemployment.

    Sorry...but stimulus funds have their place. If you're really concerned about the deficit, you should be mad at the Republicans. They started out with surpluses when they took over from Clinton. They should have been running surpluses during the good years to pay for the stimulus during the bad. Instead, they wasted $2 trillion on the Iraq war, gave multiple large tax breaks to the insanely wealthy, didn't do ANYTHING to control earmark spending, and ran up record deficits during Bush's 8 years in power.

  • Bendal1 Mar 12, 2010

    $8.6 million for 2.3 miles is about right; I've got some old costs/mile for various types of highway projects and 10 years ago converting a 2 lane road to a 4 lane with a median was estimated to run $2 million/mile. Throw in heavier pavement depths, noise walls, possible culverts, etc, $3.7 million/mile isn't unreasonable.

  • imback Mar 11, 2010

    "'re right computer trainer. Let's just have those 50 not work at all instead of this needed improvement. Let's be sure they don't eat out or buy anything else locally, gas, groceries, clothing, etc. Let's make sure these 50 people don't spend any personal money they earned while employed in a way that helps keep others employed. "

    As opposed the cost of paying all the borrowed money back with interest using tax payer money. The AP had a study a few months ago that argued the Stimulus stuff wasnt really creating enough jobs versus what its going to cost the taxpayer in the long run.
    Enjoy your steps.

  • RandolphBloke Mar 11, 2010

    You're right computer trainer. Let's just have those 50 not work at all instead of this needed improvement. Let's be sure they don't eat out or buy anything else locally, gas, groceries, clothing, etc. Let's make sure these 50 people don't spend any personal money they earned while employed in a way that helps keep others employed.

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Confucius Perhaps that will put things in perspective for you.

  • As if .... Mar 11, 2010

    Completed by Dec 2011? Have you seen the DOT contractors work ?? It's probably going to take up to another year after that !! Have you seen the 98 Falls of Neuse ext ?

  • Leonardo Mar 11, 2010


    Are you SERIOUS? Roads are EXPENSIVE! Just the labor for those 50 workers alone are going to run into the millions. I thought $8.6 million was unusually inexpensive for that project.

  • vaulter Mar 11, 2010

    While I also would love to see 50 widened, here is what I have heard for the explanation for not widening it. The fact that 50 runs through a state park is what is allegedly holding that project back. The environmental studies that would have to be conducted in order to widen the bridge and the road are more expensive than the local governments want to spend. I think this is absolutely ridiculous as a reason though. Highway 50 ABSOLUTELY needs to be widened, it sees a huge amount of traffic everyday. And a few extra feet to either side of the existing road is not going to hurt anything in the park, sorry!