Turnpike Authority listens to Garner concerns


Residents like Alvin Midgette.

"Well it was kind of a dream home, and it's what my wife wanted," Midgette told ABC11.

Midgette and his wife moved to the Breezeway subdivision almost four years ago with a plan.

"Our plan was is to stay here for a while, sell our home, and go to a retirement community," he explained.

But his home is in one of several subdivisions that would be in a proposed path of the southeast extension of the 540 outer loop.

It's known as the Red Route - and some residents feel it will force them out or force them to sell.

"We have put in two new heating/air conditioning systems and a brand new roof, taking care of our home as we go forward. So, I don't know that I would be able to get the value out of my home," said Midgette. "I don't think that they actually realize that they are actually affecting people's lives."

But Turnpike Authority officials say they are listening. They held a meeting Wednesday at the Garner Historic Auditorium to meet with residents and town officials.

"What has given, I think, folks some pause here is that this Red Route sort of, I'll say it, came out of nowhere," explained Steve DeWitt with the Turnpike Authority.

He says Wednesday's meeting will give the Authority valuable feedback.

"We want to be a part of this. We need to be a part of this. We want to hear their concerns that are there and we just need to be a part of the process," said DeWitt.

The Turnpike Authority is considering another route that runs through Garner - a route they and the town say they planned for - but could be tricky.

"It very much still is under consideration. But we've had to devise or come up with this, what we call the Red Route, because of concerns over environmental issues," said DeWitt.

But residents in the path of the new route say they don't want to leave.

"If the DOT comes and makes kind of like, quote unquote, an offer you couldn't refuse, it's something you'd have to seriously take into consideration," offered resident Gary Davis.

The Turnpike Authority says it will take the feedback from Wednesday's meeting and study all the possible routes carefully and do more studies before a decision is made.

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