"That is our No. 1 priority -- widening Highway 50 and with a bypass over to connect to Interstate 85," said Leon Turner, director of Granville Economic Development. "It will give the people in Raleigh much better access to I-85 going north.
The bypass would also divert traffic around the town of Creedmoor, where Highway 50 often becomes a main street.
"It would take the 18-wheelers off of our main street," town commissioner Herman Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson said there is another reason Highway 50 should be widened.
"[There are] very few places between Creedmoor and Raleigh that you have a safe place to pass," Wilkerson said.
Outside of Granville County, the Highway 50 widening project has gone nowhere. The state Department of Transportation does not have the project on its Transportation Improvement Plan and it is not mentioned in Raleigh or Wake County's list of supported regional projects.
Some critics argue that Raleigh may not support the project because it would mean more traffic across Falls Lake -- Raleigh's main source of drinking water. Raleigh Transportation Director Jimmy Buckham tells WRAL that the matter simply has never come up before City Council. However, Turner said critics must consider the benefits of widening Highway 50.
"It will help us in our economic development efforts here in the county. It would provide safe access to Raleigh to RDU International Airport and to Research Triangle Park," he said.
Granville County is the only county bordering Wake County that does not have four lane access to Raleigh. The county will make its pitch to the DOT next week.
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