NC Capitol

NC Capitol

'Red route' is no more

Posted March 18, 2011 6:32 p.m. EDT

Gov. Beverly Perdue on Friday signed legislation that will prevent the state Department of Transportation from considering a controversial highway route through Garner.

The so-called "red route" would have sent the southeast extension of N.C. Highway 540 through the middle of Garner.

Although the DOT pledged to Garner officials that highway would never be built, the town lobbied for a state law forbidding any consideration of the route. They said just the threat of a highway coming through Garner was scaring off business and preventing people from buying and selling homes near the route.

The Senate voted unanimously last week to pull the red route off the table, and the House voted 115-1 on the measure Thursday.

The southeast portion of N.C. 540 would extend the Triangle Expressway toll road – currently under construction in southwest Wake County – and complete the loop highway.

DOT officials have said the legislation effectively prevents them from completing the N.C. 540 loop around Wake County because the Army Corps of Engineers won't issue an environmental permit to allow highway construction to begin unless two possible routes have been studied.