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The Price of Progress: Family Will Lose Farmland When 64 Bypass is Built

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KNIGHTDALE — A Knightdale family that has been producing peaches for decades is squashing their business. It is not because of weather or slow sales. It is a road project that has derailed their plans.

In a couple of years, the new Highway 64 bypass in eastern Wake County will pass through Ralph House's family farm.

"We are right here in the path of it," says House's nephew, Gerald Ackland, the only active farmer left in the family. Ackland's peach orchard will be part of progress' price.

"It's going to mean that we're all going to have to adjust to noise, and perhaps lots of traffic, where right now, it's kind of nice and peaceful to be out here in the country without hearing all that," he says.

House himself owns the land. He is concerned about the future and says the charm of country life will be lost.

"It just breaks up the neighborhood," he says. "Instead of walking across the field to see someone, you're going to have to go down the road, back down the other road and go around."

The family does not know how much thestate Department of Transportationwill pay them for the lost land. The land, they say, is not the real issue.

"It's not fair market value, per se. It's quality of life," says Ackland. "How do you reimburse people for that?"

The project will cost $227.5 million. The first phase of construction, between I-440 and New Hope Road in Raleigh, is scheduled to begin early next year. The DOT hopes to finish the project in 2008.


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