US 64 expansion could hurt quality of life

July 17, 2009 7:02:59 AM PDT
About two hundred people met for a public hearing in Cary Thursday night to discuss the expansion of US 64. Some Wake and Chatham County residents fear that although expanding the highway would ease congestion, it would be at their expense.

A study panel spent more than an hour answering questions at Green Hope High School Thursday.

The DOT says the expansion would prevent bumper to bumper traffic on US 64 that has become common on I-40 due to growth in Wake County.

"And we just want to plan for and accommodate the growth, and what we're developing is a master plan for that," said David Wasserman, NC DOT project manager.

According to Wasserman, the plan's first phase would transform section of 64 into a super street, forcing u-turns to improve traffic flow.

Construction would take between five and ten years. The second phase could take up to 25 years, elevating a two-mile stretch from 64 and US 1 in Cary to Laura Duncan Road in Apex in order to accommodate interstate traffic.

"Instead of being able to turn into the shopping center here, they're going to have to go down the road a half-a-mile and back a half-a-mile then turn into a shopping center," concerned resident Danny Epstein said.

In addition to hurting business in a nearby shopping center, Epstein believes the overall quality of life could be ruined.

"Before you go and start putting in super streets or freeways, you need to take a look and take a step back and look at all of the things that have been done properly," Epstein said.

The estimated cost of the project is $400 million and currently is no funding set aside for it.

More than 2,000 residents have signed a petition against the expansion.


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