New Bypass Challenges Downtown Wake Forest Businesses
Posted July 9, 2006 1:43 a.m. EDT
WAKE FOREST, N.C. — How do you lower car traffic, but keep consumer traffic? That's the challenge in charming Wake Forest.
Saturdays on historic Main Street, local vendors sell their goods at a small farmer's market. But don't be fooled by the slow pace -- Wake Forest is exploding with people. With that growth comes gridlock--especially during the weekday rush hours.
Until recently, commuters had to take Highway 98 through town. Now, instead of having to weave through downtown Wake Forest, drivers can avoid traffic headaches and hit the bypass.
"If you just want to get over to Target, Staples, Home Depot, it makes it easier than cutting through," said driver Kevin Harvey.
Although some downtown business owners are worried about losing customers because of the new highway, the cash flow keeps moving through Wake Forest's Main Street which, so far, is bypassed, but not forgotten.
"People traveling are going to go through anyway, and the people who want to go here come downtown anyway," said farmer's market vendor Charles Faulkner.
The mile and a half stretch of the Highway 98 Bypass between Capital Boulevard and U.S. 1-A opened four weeks ago. Crews worked overtime to finish the project four months ahead of schedule.