If the people of Rolesville are lucky, they might get a new U.S. 401 bypass in about five years.
By that time, the town could be three times its current size.
The state Department of Transportation, which said last summer that the six-mile bypass would be postponed until sometime after 2013, now plans to start building it in 2011. The accelerated schedule is included in the 2007-13 State Transportation Improvement Program, which the state Board of Transportation is expected to approve today.
Under the plan, construction on Durham's long-sought East End Connector, a freeway link between U.S. 70 and N.C. 147, would begin in 2012.
The Rolesville bypass is part of a $115 million project to make U.S. 401 four lanes wide from Raleigh's Interstate 540 Outer Loop to N.C. 39 in Franklinton.
Rolesville leaders were counting on the bypass when they approved the construction of more than 2,000 homes in the town of about 2,500. As Rolesville grows, the two-lane road through town keeps getting busier.
"When you're walking down the road, you've got 18-wheelers blowing by you," said Matt Livingston, the town manager. "In a small town, the ability to just get out and walk is very vital. It's hard to do that, hard to cross the street."
Livingston said the Rolesville census could reach 7,000 to 8,000 in five years, and he figures a widened U.S. 401 could make the town in northeast Wake County, just four miles from the Outer Loop, even more appealing to new employers.
To speed plans for the bypass, the DOT tapped a new source of federal financing called GARVEE bonds. GARVEE funding also will be used this year to repave two stretches of highway: eight miles on Raleigh's southern Interstate 440 Beltline and 24 miles of I-85 in Vance and Warren counties.
Staff writer Bruce Siceloff can be reached at 829-4527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.