Residents get input on southern Wake toll road route

— The Department of Transportation is ready to take public comments about proposed routes for the 540 toll road through southern Wake County and neighbors whose homes could be destroyed are ready to speak up.

Among the pine trees in southern Wake County, Dr. Kristen Valus and her husband found what she calls their “forever home” in 2013.

“My whole dream here was to have a hobby farm,” said Valus.

They knew the DOT was considering several options to complete 540 south of Raleigh but the Valuses thought their property was safe after DOT officials removed the purple route from consideration in 2010.

Valus and her husband bought the house expecting to have to do some improvements on the roof and siding. They found out they were back in the proposed purple route and have been in limbo ever since.

“We just can’t be settled. We’re waiting to see if we have to move or not,” said Valus.

After years of study, there’s new movement on the plan to complete the toll road. Last month, federal officials gave the go-ahead for the state to get public comments about which route is best.

“There are actually 17 different alternate routes that stretch from Holly Springs to Knightdale, so we need people to come out and give their opinion,” said North Carolina DOT spokesperson Ginny Inman.

The state would make its recommendation in spring of 2016. After federal approval, construction could begin in 2018. Valus is hoping that the purple route is not selected.

“The road goes literally through the living room,” said Valus.

Valus and her neighbors are leading a Facebook group and petition urging DOT officials to pick another route.

“It’s up to us now to really speak our minds,” she said.

The DOT will hold public meetings next week in Holly Springs and Raleigh. There is a public hearing at the main Wake Tech campus Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Residents can also comment about the plan online.

,The Department of Transportation is ready to take public comments about proposed routes for the 540 toll road through southern Wake County and neighbors whose homes could be destroyed are ready to speak up.

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