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Engineers Finalize Plan for Fayetteville's Outer Loop

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FAYETTEVILLE — There are signs of progress for Fayetteville's Outer Loop. After more than 10 years of planning, a final route has been mapped out.

The northern section, from Interstate 95 to Ramsey Street has been under construction since last year. It is the southern part that was stalled because of wetland concerns.

Things are now moving again, because theU.S. Army Corps of Engineershas finally chosen a route for the southern section. The highway will go west from Ramsey Street, skirting the county line and reconnecting on Interstate 95 in Robeson County.

Currently, there is no easy way to get from one side of Fayetteville to another. The loop will take people around town instead of through the city.

State Senator Tony Rand, a Democrat, has been a driving force behind the project.

"Now, at least we have a route established so we can start beating up everybody to make sure it can move forward," Rand says. "Fayetteville can join the other major cities in adequate transportation routes."

With 13 proposed routes over the years, many homeowners have been living in limbo. People who live along the newly chosen route are now facing an inevitable eviction.

The Rev. Reyfeld Thomas knew the news could not be good when he saw surveyors right in front of his home. He has lived on Spotted Farm Road for 15 years and feels pretty certain now he will have to move.

"We are fighting a losing battle," he says. "If we have to move, we have to move. Of course, it won't anger me, I understand its for the better, because Fayetteville traffic is so bad."

The full cost of the project could run as high as $450 million. The entire loop is not expected to be finished until about 2010.


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