Local News

I-540 Construction May Be Sand Trap For Raleigh Golf Course

Posted April 5, 2004 5:06 a.m. EDT

— Golfers first teed off at Wil-Mar Golf Course in 1961. Now, the golf course's well-being may be in trouble, thanks to Interstate 540 construction.

To build the interstate, the state Department of Transportation needs to put a bridge over Old Milburnie Road. To build the bridge, engineers will soon block Old Milburnie Road, the main way into Wil-Mar.

Golfers will have to take a two-mile detour on Tar Heel Club Road. That detour may be in effect for two years.

"Two years of construction and having a detour certainly will slow down the process of our continued growth," golf course owner Fran Wilkerson said.

When I-540 is finished, Wilkerson said it will benefit the course and the area. During the construction detour, however, it could send golfers elsewhere.

"Some people just don't like detours, even if it is a short one, and we're certainly hoping that our regular customers come see us, even though they have to take a detour," Wilkerson said.

Most golfers are not happy with the pending detour, but some understand how Wil-Mar is one example of what is going on all over the growing Triangle.

"You really can't stop progress. Raleigh needs this 540 bypass. They've needed it for a long time," golfer Jim Ferrell said.

Bridge construction should start in the next few weeks. The section of I-540 from Capital Boulevard to Highway 64 is scheduled for completion in Spring 2006.