Garner residents fill meeting about proposed 540 expansion

Posted December 14, 2010 7:35 p.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2011 12:12 p.m. EST

— Garner citizens filled a community clubhouse Tuesday to express concerns over the southeast extension of Interstate 540.

One route, called the Red Corridor, would run right through the town of Garner. The North Carolina Turnpike Authority is considering new routes after an endangered species of mussels was discovered in a creek along the Orange Corridor, the original planned expansion area.

Many of the people who came out to oppose the expansion don't have a home in the direct path of any of the nine proposed routes.

"The road comes about a quarter of a mile from my backyard, so yeah, a lot of people are not directly affected, but indirectly," said Garner resident Diane Ripollone.

Concerns voiced at the meeting focused primarily on home values and traffic issues and were directed to engineering consultants representing the Turnpike Authority.

The consultants said meetings with a great deal of opposition weigh heavily on the final decision, but Garner resident T.J. Worsley was skeptical.

"I don't trust what they're saying, not at all," Worsley said. "We would like to eliminate the middle man and talk directly to the officials who will be making the decision."

The Southeast Extension will extend the Triangle Expressway – currently under construction in southeast Wake County and part of northeast Johnston County – and complete the loop around Raleigh.

The Turnpike Authority expects to decide on a route by mid-2012, though the ultimate decision won't be made until the end of 2013.

Construction could begin as early as 2018.