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Construction To Start Three Years Early On U.S. 64 Bypass

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RALEIGH — State Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tipppett announced Thursday that the state would accelerate development of the 11-mile, six-lane U.S. 64 bypass, which will run from U.S. Business in Wendell to Interstate 440 in Raleigh.

Construction will begin three years sooner than expected on U.S. 64, and could be finished by 2005 rather than the original target date of 2008. The development will cost around $188 million, and is intended to reduce congestion and commute times for eastern Wake County.

U.S. 64 currently carries between 45,000 and 65,000 cars per day through Knightdale. The bypass, if it were opened today, would cut that traffic significantly.

Traveling from U.S. 64 Business in Wendell to the I-440 interchange at Raleigh's New Bern Avenue should be reduced from about 40 minutes to 10 when work is finished.

Tippett says the state is also looking for ways to finish the two-mile stretch of I-540 between the current U.S. 64 and the new bypass, which is expected to cost around $50 million.

Construction has been sped up by using a procedure called "design-build," which allows the state to hire a contractor to design and build the road under one contract, rather than having separate contracts for engineers and contractors.

The bypass is also expected to spur economic growth in eastern Wake County.

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