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Displaced Homeowners, DOT Debate Cumberland Outer Loop

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FAYETTEVILLE — It's an old battle-- history versus the future. Right now, it's being waged on the fertile grasslands of Cumberland County. Fayetteville's proposed outer loop would provide faster access to I-95 and Fort Bragg, while easing traffic flow inside the city. Some people in the path of the road say the price of progress is too high.

The $81 million dollar project has been talked about for decades but now it's about to become a reality. The route has been chosen and next month, Department of Transportation officials will begin buying the land needed for the highway.

Brenda Lyons knows life at her quiet rural home will soon change dramatically. Her porch view will soon include a major highway. The Fayetteville outer loop will be going right through her family's 32 acres, land that they have owned for almost six decades.

"Pretty much it's just the city moving in on us," Lyons explains, "and we've always been folks more or less to ourselves, and we enjoy that type of thing. So that's my biggest fear."

The road will take out her brother's house and go between Brenda and her mother's home. So although they'll still be neighbors, they'll be separated by a major thoroughfare. To visit each other, family members will have travel along a service road.

Lyons and dozens of other affected homeowners got a chance to vent their frustrations to DOT officials. The people here know they can't change the routes. Although the loop is taking land and homes, it's expected to make driving easier for all Fayetteville motorists. It will relieve traffic in south Fayetteville, while providing a badly needed north access route between Ft. Bragg and Interstate 95.

"I'm happy that it's coming here for the reason I have to go down Ramsey Street," Rick Shum says. "I get tired of fighting the traffic everyday-- running into Kelly traffic. It would help me out tremendously going to work."

In all, 24 homes and 12 businesses will have to be removed. The project will be worked on in phases. Construction on the first phase is scheduled to begin in October.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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