Garner residents oppose proposed N.C. 540 extension route

Posted November 17, 2010
Updated November 18, 2010

— After hearing from concerned Garner residents Wednesday evening, North Carolina Turnpike Authority officials said that they will suggest one route being studied as possible extension to the state’s first toll road not be used. 

The N.C. 540 Southeast Extension would connect to and complete the Triangle Expressway, which is under construction in Wake and Durham counties.

Members of the community said that one proposed route, referred to as the Red Route, would have an adverse effect on 13 neighborhoods as well as the town’s primary industrial recruitment area.

"How would you feel if a bulldozer was coming through your home?" asked Garner resident Patrice Johnson. 

"We are not here to hurt, but to help," said Steve DeWitt, of the Turnpike Authority said. 

The Turnpike Authority officials said Wednesday that the Red Route would help protect mussels, an endangered species. 

"There are mussels, we know, south of Lake Benson," DeWitt said. 

Earlier this month, the Turnpike Authority announced that it eliminated three other routes - referred to as the Blue, Purple and Yellow corridors. 

Officials said public input was a factor in the decision to eliminate the routes. The Turnpike Authority received more than 2,000 individual comments, as well as numerous petitions and local government resolutions during a public comment period.

i540 Garner speaks out against N.C. 540 extension route

In addition to the Red Route, the Turnpike Authority is considering four other routes, including one between Interstate 40 and Knightdale (the Tan Corridor).

DeWitt said he hopes to get the Red Route off the map, but it is all part of a process. 

"We ask that their results be timely and that this Red Route be removed from consideration," Garner councilman Buck Kennedy said.

The routes will be studied further in the coming months. In-depth discussions of each option are scheduled to begin early next year.

The Turnpike Authority said more routes could be eliminated.


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  • mys1983 Nov 24, 2010

    This route would literally cause them to have to tear down my church that has been in existence for 144 years!!!

  • Mugu Nov 19, 2010

    Why in the heck are we re-routing an entire freeway for some mussels? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.

  • shortcake53 Nov 19, 2010

    This is just so wrong............... I feel so bad for the homeowners in limbo.

  • itsmyownopinion Nov 19, 2010

    Quote: "How would you feel if a bulldozer was coming through your home?" asked Garner resident Patrice Johnson.

    For me, it would depend on what I was being paid for it and how long I was given to pack.

  • Bendal1 Nov 18, 2010

    Environmental rules require two alternatives minimum be studied for any new location project; NCTA only had one. The same thing happened in Greensboro and Winston-Salem; DOT and the cities worked to protect a corridor, but FHWA and the environmental agencies stepped in and asked "where's the other alternative"?

    As for bridging over the mussel habitat, that will probably be the solution but it won't be cheap; the rules for impacting an endangered species are strict and can trump nearly any other objection. I say "nearly" because if there is strong, unified objection to an avoidance alternative (the one through Garner is considered an avoidance), then the option that impacts the endangered species can be selected. The bridge over the mussels still counts as an impact though.

    BTW, DOT uses fair market value for determining property values, based on what homes around there have been selling for. Don't expect what you paid for it if the price has fallen lately!

  • ahmbdm Nov 18, 2010

    1) The solution is (amazingly) almost too easy: Use the original route and raise the highway over the mussels' habitat...after all, just how many square (or linear) miles of this route would actually invade the creek(s) in question?

    2) Has anyone considered the fact that, with the mortgage/foreclosure crisis in full bloom, there are many families who have struggled, yet managed to keep their mortgage payments current? While these properties could be bought out via condemnation, etc., where is the relief for those who would no longer qualify for financing under the current rules? Is DOT going to guarantee that these soon-to-be-displaced families will indeed be guaranteed financing for new homes?????

  • NeverSurrender Nov 18, 2010

    "Although they do pay you pretty well for your home and land."


    Generally after you lawyer up and sue them...the first few offers that come from NCDOT are low-ball at best! They're trying to capitalise on people who feel desperate enough to take anything they offer to lower overall project costs.

  • Garnerwolf1 Nov 18, 2010

    And to you NIMBY folks, 15, that's 1-5 years ago, there was a 'protective' corridor put into place. It's called protective because little to no development has occurred there because of this future road. Now, as of Sept, they're looking at the option of running it through the middle of Garner, bulldozing approx 1000 homes and devaluing 1000s more.

  • Garnerwolf1 Nov 18, 2010

    "Why was a subdivision built on a possible highway site? Shouldnt developers know what plans are being made for property? Why didnt someone speak up a lot sooner, before these people put down roots?" It wasn't! That's the point. The original corridor (S of Garner) was put into place 15 yrs ago. The new corridor through the middle of Garner only popped up in September of this year!

  • FromClayton Nov 18, 2010

    "NIMBY", Says the whole world.