Editorial: Paying the price for growth

December 26, 2013 

This too, shall pass.

True though that statement may be, two recent news stories give us an idea of the trauma that can come with growth.

In one case, the North Carolina Department of Transportation announced it will review 17 possible routes for the southern leg of Interstate 540, stretching from Knightdale around to Holly Springs. Conducting those studies will, of course, take time and there will be quite some time between that and the day that one can get in a vehicle and drive a complete loop around the city of Raleigh from any point on the roadway.

As things now stand, I-540 simply ends at U.S. 64 in Knightdale. Any motorist traveling east on the roadway must exit or risk running off into the woods. Of more interest to many local motorists who might one day desire to drive that route, the new road will be tolled and the cost of traveling that route will involve more than just the gasoline it takes to get from Point A to Point B.

Though toll roads are becoming more popular in North Carolina, they still seem anathema to people in a state used to good roads paid for through taxes.

The other story that highlights that trauma of growth comes from the school system, which tells us that repair work on another stretch of major roadway, the southern portion of Interstate 440, will wreak havoc with school bus travel. School leaders are considering altering start times of some schools to make accommodations for the traffic delays that work will cause.

Local governments are encouraging private businesses to consider alternative work arrangements for employees to lessen the need for travel on that stretch of roadway during construction.

Both these bits of news may be cause for some heartburn, but here’s another, less sinister, way to look at it. These problems arise because more people live here now than in the past. And still more are expected. That speaks to the quality of life in our region and we should be glad others see our hometowns as places they’d like to call their hometown, too.

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