Local News

Wake Forest Businesses Willing To Sacrifice Sales For Progress

Posted October 6, 2005 6:14 a.m. EDT

— A number of local retail stores and restaurant owners in Wake Forest are more than ready for construction work on U.S. Highway 1 to be over -- so ready, in fact, that they have said they are willing to make a big sacrifice to speed up the process.

Under a proposed plan between the merchants and the N.C. Department of Transportation, construction on the Highway 98 Bypass -- which connects U.S. 1 and Retail Drive in Wake Forest -- could be completed six months ahead of schedule. The roadway has been under construction already for more than a year.

The plan, however, would mean that Retail Drive would be shut down between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20.

While local business owners have agreed to the proposal, some admit they are taking a big risk because the closure would take place during a peak time during the holiday shopping season.

"We don't know how much the traffic will be decreased," said restaurant manager Bob Bangs. "We have pretty faithful customers. We have loyal customers that we enjoy and who we see day in and day out, and I trust that many of them will come to see us."

They say, however, that in the end, the project will be beneficial to them due to the added traffic.

"We figure between January and March or April we can make up for that with increased traffic on the bypass," Bangs said.

While area merchants have already agreed to the plan, a DOT spokeswoman said that there were still details to be worked out and that no final deal had been made.