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Knightdale Mayor Calls DOT Road Project Delays 'Unacceptable'

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KNIGHTDALE — Under a new draft plan, theState Department of Transportationwill slow down construction of several major road projects in the Triangle. One of those projects is the long-planned U.S. 64 bypass around Knightdale.

Traffic along U.S. 64 in Knightdale can be a nightmare mornings and evenings. So word of construction delays has community leaders ready to fight.

The U.S. 64 bypass has been planned since the mid-1980s. If the plan is adopted as is, U.S. 64 will be further delayed, along with hundreds of other projects across the state.

Knightdale Mayor Joe Bryan says the delay is totally unacceptable.

"It's a shock to me that [Highway] 64 was not only not accelerated, or kept up to speed, but delayed," says Bryan. "Now it's going to take approximately 25 years to build a road that's been planned since 1987. That's unacceptable."

In Knightdale, that sentiment is echoed.

"I don't want a delay, because I can't get out when I try to get across the road to get to work," said driver Nadine Thompson.

Department of Transportation Secretary Norris Tolson presented the draft Thursday to transportation board members, saying last year's audit of the plan confirmed a $2 billion shortfall.

"We did not have the funds to complete all the projects that had been promised within the seven year time frame of the TIP," Tolson told the group.

Bryan contends increasing traffic in urban areas like Raleigh will stifle growth and more.

"Our quality of life is going to deteriorate so much that we're going to lose that image as a great place to live," says Knightdale's mayor. "And once we lose that image, it's going to be very difficult to overcome."

Each day, 70,000 cars use the existing U.S. 64 to funnel workers to and from their jobs.

"This is not a Knightdale problem. Knightdale is only a town of 4,000. Those 70,000 cars are coming from Wilson, Rocky Mount," said Bryan.

Triangle leaders plan a meeting next week to map strategies to try to fight the delays. They want questions answered, including why $300 million was possibly moved from the highway trust fund to the state general fund. They say the money was meant to build roads; that's how it should be used.

DOT will hold meetings statewide so that citizens and government officials can voice their opinions about the plan.

You can do thatonline right nowor you can call1-877-DOT4Uto make your thoughts known.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Robert Meikle, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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