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Proposed route for toll road alarms Garner residents

Posted October 20, 2010

— As the state lays plans for completing the Interstate 540 loop around Wake County, some of the proposed routes for the highway have alarmed local residents.

The state Department of Transportation has outlined nine alternatives for the southern arc of the highway, which would connect N.C. Highway 55 in Holly Springs to U.S. Highway 64/264 Bypass in Knightdale.

One of the proposed routes would cut through the Brookwood neighborhood in Garner, which has residents up in arms.

"It upsets a lot of people. There's a lot of reasons why I'm upset," said Bruce Wittman, who has lived in Brookwood for more than 20 years.

"I don't know if in Wake County there is another piece of land like this," said his wife, Martha Wittman.

The Wittmans posted a sign in their front yard to alert neighbors to the DOT proposal, and they left a stack of fliers for people to voice their concerns.

"They're going to cut the town in half," said Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams, who is livid about the proposed I-540 route.

Brookwood resident Brenda Sumner said the highway would go right through her house if DOT follows the controversial path.

"It would be total devastation if we had to move," Sumner said.

Opposition sign to proposed toll road route Proposed route for toll road alarms Garner residents

DOT officials said one route for I-540 has been set aside for decades, but changes in federal law required the state to consider alternatives.

"While we're hearing a lot of public outcry, we expected to hear a lot of public comments about where we are," said Steve DeWitt, chief engineer for the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, which plans to operate the southern section of the highway as a toll road.

The Garner Town Council and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization have both endorsed the original route for the highway.

A final decision on the route might not come for two or three years.

In the meantime, Sumner said she hopes Brookwood's concerns will be heard.

"The only thing I know to do is just pray and get the word out that we definitely do not want the expressway to come through our neighborhood," she said.

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  • penelope1 Oct 22, 2010

    johnny28546...Do you honestly believe this won't happen if Republican's are in office; you're kidding right? This is bigger than Republican's and Democrats; this project is for the future; long after your head and mine is cold in the ground.

  • Dixiecrat Oct 22, 2010

    The Man is gonna do whatever he wants to do. If he decides to come through your house, then all you can do is accept his offer, pack your stuff and have your memories. The Man has Eminent Domain.

  • rcdude Oct 21, 2010

    Welcome to the fight Garner residents. My wife and I moved to Fuquay Varina in June. Last week we learned from a neighbor that our entire neighborhood would be wiped out from one the proposed alternatives. We're fighting, the town of Holly Springs is fighting.

    My advice, get your comments in to the Project Hotline: (800) 554-7849 or email southeast@ncturnpike.org before the close of business October 22.

    We've sent ours in, but are mad about the lack of time they gave us to send our feedback in.

  • wigi Oct 21, 2010

    moe7061
    If they paid me enough I would!

  • BumpyKnuckles Oct 21, 2010

    We shouldnt even have a "turnpike authority". Fire all those yahoos and use the money from the TA's operating costs to keep the road free. After all who in their right mind wants to have a road like the NJ turnpike or NY thruway. And as far as it being put through somebodys neighbor hood or house, eminent domain is wrong and peoples land or property ownership should be absolute.

  • andsantucci Oct 21, 2010

    I would. I'd even sell my house/land and move.

  • Garnerwolf1 Oct 21, 2010

    andsantucci: volunteer to have it put in your backyard...

  • andsantucci Oct 21, 2010

    Everyone wants to have 540 done and over with so we can all get around quickly. No one wants to pay for it. No one wants it in their back yard. Everyone wants it for free. Get real. I don't want to pay the toll but I will if it makes my life better. And really, why isn't I95 tolled? Do you know how much money the state could make if we charged HALF of what other states charge?! Go to Maryland or anywhere up that way, but you pay it because you want to get where you are going quickly.

    Oh and everyone is upset about the new 540 proposed routes...it's exactly that...PROPOSED! As stated "one route for I-540 has been set aside for decades" and "federal law required the state to consider alternatives."

    In real estate people who want everything at everyone else's expense are known as NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard).

  • babedan Oct 21, 2010

    finder, I take it you live at around the part of the bypass that is free. Of course you don't mind seeing others pay your way for you do you. It's always I want something as long as others pay. Well, since we all paid road taxes for this project and since the Governor and the democratic controlled legislature stole the money in accordance with the courts. Let's make it a freeway and not fund a "entitlement" program that isn't needed anyway.

  • johnf7177 Oct 21, 2010

    We need more highways. The more the better.

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