Local News

New Projects To Bring Growth To Eastern Wake County

Posted April 13, 2005 2:31 a.m. EDT

— New highways will soon make it easier to get from eastern Wake County to the heart of the Triangle. Those projects promise to bring big business and change the face of several towns.

Lunchtime at Knightdale Seafood and Barbecue can be hectic. A pair of major highway projects could soon bring more traffic to Richard Warner's restaurant.

"On a good day when there is no traffic, we're full for an hour or so," Warner said.

The Highway 64 bypass is nearly finished and a section of Interstate 540 is on the way. Those projects will soon mean new neighbors and more businesses.

"Growth in Knightdale is truly exciting," said Knightdale Mayor Douglas M. Boyd.

New homes and shopping centers have already sprung up around town before the highways are even done. Plans are under way for a nearly 600,000-square-foot shopping center, the largest in that part of the county.

Knightdale's Economic Development Committee is working with a consultant to make the town even more marketable. Their latest target includes attracting new restaurants.

"There is no better opportunity to go out and market yourself to be able to get those type of businesses that you want," Boyd said.

Warner does not mind the growth or even the push for more eateries, but he and the other owners are taking steps to make sure they do not get lost in the growth.

"If you're a strong operator, it'll help you," Warner said. "You have to be willing to change with the times."

Towns such as Wendell and Zebulon are seeing similar growth. The new Highway 64 bypass is scheduled to be finished before the summer. Interstate 540 is scheduled to reach eastern Wake County in about a year.