Local/State

Garner residents want lawmakers to stop 'Red Route'

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Garner residents want lawmakers to stop an extension of 540 called the Red Route.

The proposed construction would go through the middle of Garner, causing some homes to be torn down and other to plummet in value.

"The Red Route has us on a stand still here," Realtor Paul Capps said.

The Village at Aversboro is a new retirement community in Garner, which remains under development, but no building have been constructed in months because of the potential extension of the Red Route.

Capps says sales were on fire until last October when the Red Route came up as a possible alternative to the long standing "Orange Route," which would bring 540 south of Garner.

The Red Route literally splits Aversboro in half and cuts through a number of parks. The route could cost the city hundreds of jobs and could mean hundreds of families will be forced out of their homes.

"It's just a line on a map, but it affects tremendously people's lives," Wake County Republican Senator Richard Stevens explained.

Stevens represents Garner and proposed a bill to take the Red Route off the map.

"The legislation does one thing and one thing only, it says to the dot, not this route," Stevens said.

Turnpike Authority Chief Engineer Steve Dewitt says Turnpike Authority never intended to go with the Red Route. He says federal environmental regulations require them to study alternative paths and that taking any off the table could put federal funding at risk, delaying the project.

"When certain routes are prevented from being studied, it could affect long term our ability to do the things that we need to do," Dewitt said.

However, those who live and work in the area say the Red Route is paralyzing. Business, real estate and new development are all on hold.

Residents and business owners hope lawmakers will do what the DOT has not done and say once and for all that 540 will not cut through Garner.

The bill was unanimously approved in the Senate earlier this month. Thursday the House will consider it. It's expected to pass and if it does, it will go to Governor Perdue.

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wake county, local/state, jon camp
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