Planners Want To Widen U.S. 1 In Wake, Franklin Counties

Posted June 8, 2006 8:19 a.m. EDT

— Capital Boulevard is a mess during rush hour traffic. Now, planners want to make sure that gridlock doesn't spread.

The planners are eyeing U.S. 1 from Interstate 540 North to Youngsville, formulating a plan to turn a 12-mile stretch of highway into a limited-access freeway. In reality, the corridor is growing so rapidly there may not be the time or the space to do it.

The latest plan is to widen the road from I-40 to Wake Forest to eight lanes, and from Wake Forest to Youngsville to six lanes. The tricky part is doing that without traffic lights. A possible solution would be to turn U.S. 1 at Durant Road into a cloverleaf intersection, along with U.S. 1 at Burlington Mills Road.

Another part of the plan is a cloverleaf at U.S. 1 in Wake Forest. That idea would close a nearby Golden Corral restaurant, and that didn't sit well with the lunch crowd on Thursday.

“I think they should have thought of the plan before they put the Golden Corral here if they were going to do it,” said customer Harold Wetzel. “There should be a different solution to it.”

Wake Forest's planning director, Chip Russell, chairs the U.S. 1/Freeway Oversight Committee. He said nothing in the plan is final.

“There will be much more refinement of these plans,” said Russell. “Obviously, we're going to do everything we can not to go through a newer building or any building at all if at all possible.”

Planners said the freeway would help control traffic and growth, but more cars and more buildings keep clogging the corridor.

The public can take a look at the plan and comment on it later this month. Planners are still working out exact details, but the meeting will be held at Triangle Town Center on June 27.