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Homeowners: N.C. 98 Bypass paving their way to lower property values

The extension of the N.C. Highway 98 bypass near Wakefield is unsettling to some Wake County residents. They say the extension is too close to their homes.

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. — The extension of the N.C. Highway 98 bypass near Wakefield is unsettling to some Wake County residents, who say the connection between U.S. Highway 1 and Thomson Mill Road is too close to their homes.

"It's very, very close to us – very, very close to us," Merri Beth Alexander said.

Alexander said she picked her house lot in June 2006. Her builder, she said, never told her about the bypass.

"I don't recall signing anything, any forewarning, nothing," she said.

Work on the bypass began in the early 1990s, and the builder said all homeowners were required to sign a disclosure statement.

"We have an obligation as a department to plan for any development, business, that is either in place or that we know of, that there is record of, that is going to happen," said Dennis Jernigan, an engineer with the state Department of Transportation.

That means only development that existed, or was on record, in 1996 was considered in the planning.

Because there are so many concerns over the bypass project now, however, the DOT held an information session Tuesday night.

"Why does it appear that there is no coordination or master planning?" one person asked.

That is because these plans were finalized more than a decade ago, a DOT spokesperson replied.

Homeowners voiced concerns about the road being too close, about possible noise and about their property values going down.

“If you build as a developer or property owner after the date of public record, then we’re not allowed to spend federal or state dollars to build a noise buffer,” said Wally Bowman, another DOT engineer told WRAL earlier this month.

A DOT spokesperson said homeowners who live by the bypass can ask for landscaping to block the road out. A decision on each lot will be made on case-by-case basis.

The proposed 1.5-mile extension is expected to be completed in 2010.

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 Credits

Erin Hartness, Reporter
Mark Simpson, Photographer
Minnie Bridgers, Web Editor

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