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Family History Takes Detour In Name Of Progress

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Highway 54 - Wake County
MORRISVILLE, N.C. — The Interstate 540 expansion from Interstate 40 down to Highway 54 in Morrisville will ease traffic congestion for thousands, but that path plows through front porches full of family history.

Thelma McCrimmon's entire family lived on a mile-long stretch of Highway 54 in western Wake County.

In all, there were 10 homes there. Now, there is just one standing, and soon it will go, too.

About 30 years ago, planners picked the area where McCrimmon's home was located as a corridor for the Interstate 540/Highway 54 interchange.

A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation said the state does all it can to ease the transition-- buying the property, paying rent if necessary, and moving expenses -- but the bottom the line is, the road will come, like it or not.

The DOT bought McCrimmon's house and property and paid market value for it last year, but to her, it's not about the money.

"That was home, McCrimmon said. "If I wanted to move, it was a different story, but when you're forced out."

Legally, McCrimmon said she had no choice. So she moved her house a few miles away -- so did some of her family. It is the same structure she lived in for 46 years, but it's not the same home.

Back in the 1970s when planners charted Interstate 540 and its major interchanges, they tried to find the path of least resistance. That section of I-540 is set to open in August of 2007.

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John Bachman, Reporter
Courtney Davis, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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