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Wake Forest Bypass Promises To Improve Access To Downtown

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. — A bypass highway can take business away from a downtown, slice up neighborhoods and drive down property values.

In Wake Forest, crews are about to build the Highway 98 Bypass. Backers say this urban loop will be different.

Survey stakes are popping up like dandelions as work starts on the Highway 98 Bypass. The road will run south of town in an arc from Thompson Mill Road to Jones Dairy Road.

The bypass will also run a few feet from Elsie Mangum's home.

"I didn't want it done, but they are going to do it. They don't ask you what you want done," she said.

Mangum will lose a huge oak tree and some peace and quiet.

Mayor Vivian Jones promises that the bypass will not be crowded with fast food places and strip malls.

"We want to make sure that it doesn't look like a junky corridor. We want it to be nicely configured and we're planning for that, we're working on that," she said.

Unlike some, the 98 Bypass will have a link to downtown, improving accessibility over the current Highway 98.

"If you have to snake your way around the seminary and under the underpass, some folks are just not going to make that trip," said Davis Camacho, a town commissioner.

Many believe the the bypass will change Wake Forest forever.

"Wake Forest is not Wake Forest now," Mangum said. "There's Wakefield, there's Heritage, there's all of these little places."

Bypass or not, Wake Forest is not a little place anymore.

Work could begin on the Highway 98 Bypass as early as May. The project will be done in three phases, with the first phase scheduled to be completed by December 2004.


Mark Roberts, Reporter
Keith Baker, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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