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How Cary's Morrisville Parkway Extension Project is Leaving Residents in Limbo

Earlier this month, I attended the public hearing for the Morrisville Parkway Extension in Cary, North Carolina (on Tuesday, November 5, 2013). I thought the Town of Cary officials gave an informative and useful presentation, outlining the project and who was going to be affected.

Below is my take on the project and its development:

HighwayBuilding_06262014Outline of the Morrisville Parkway Extension Project

The Morrisville Parkway Extension project is designed to connect the two existing halves of Morrisville Parkway by building the "Morrisville Parkway Extension." This leg of the Extension has been complicated because it has to cross NC 540.

The Turnpike Authority/NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) wants the intersection of the Morrisville Parkway Extension and NC 540 to have a full interchange. The new interchange will be sandwiched between an existing interchange 2 miles to the north at NC 55 and another toll road interchange 2 miles to the south at Green Level West Road.

The NCDOT, the Turnpike Authority, and the Town of Cary always planned for a new interchange where the Morrisville Parkway Extension crossed NC 540. In fact, they built a 2-lane bridge across NC 540 several years ago, in the hopes that the Morrisville Parkway Extension would be built and use it. Until then, the bridge dumps into a green field at both ends.

Road_12182014Cary's Piecemeal Approach

Since Cary is a growing area, the Town of Cary has shown the ability to negotiate with developers to build roads and other improvements before Cary will approve their projects. The Morrisville Parkway Extension is an excellent example of this.

A developer wanted to build the "Oaks at Highcroft." The Town said fine, but you need to donate land and build a portion of the Morrisville Parkway Extension. Then a developer wanted to build "Fryar's Gate". Again, the Town said fine, but you will need to donate land and build another portion of the Morrisville Parkway Extension. A third developer wanted to build a portion of the Graystone Villages; and, so agreed to build yet another portion of the Morrisville Parkway Extension.

The Turnpike Authority, agreed to build the interchange with 540 and the Town of Cary agreed to build odds and ends that remained.

This leaves us with the people who may be hurt most by the project - the Twyla Road community.

The Twyla Road Community

When NC 540 was built, it ran through the Twyla Road Community and some property owners reported that it affected their resale value - after all, very few people want to live next to a freeway.

Now the Morrisville Parkway Extension threatens to cut the community in half and the interloops with 540 will nearly demolish the community.

To try to make the best out of a bad situation (their words), the property owners have banded together to form the Twyla Road, LLC to jointly market their properties to developers.

So Where Are We Now?

The developers of Graystone and the Oaks at Highcroft have already started building their portions of the Extension. Cary funded their part to acquire the land necessary to build their portions; but, they still have not funded construction. And the North Carolina Department of Transportation Turnpike Authority still has to approve paying for the interchange.

Since the Morrisville Parkway Extension is being funded and built piecemeal, how have the governmental parties chosen to proceed? First, they intend to build the project in phases. The first phase is a two-lane, largely median-divided, road, which is mostly being built by private developers. Presumably, the Town of Cary will step-up and fund the construction of their portions of the road. The Turnpike Authority has already built the bridge across NC 540.

At some indeterminate time, the Turnpike Authority will decide to build the interchange. Until then, the property owners will have to live under the shadow of the coming condemnation. It is easy to imagine that they could have problems selling their homes at a reasonable price when the buyer knows the interchange is coming. Who wants to buy a lawsuit?

Once Phase 1 is completed, the governmental authorities plan to keep the Extension a two-lane road until traffic counts swamp the road. Then, they plan to build Phase 2. In Phase 2, the Morrisville Parkway Extension will be widened to four lanes and a second bridge will be built across NC 540. If you are looking at City plans and wondering whether you are looking at Phase 1 or Phase 2, look at the interchange connections with the Morrisville Parkway Extension. If you see roundabouts, you are looking at Phase 1. If you see traffic signals, you are looking at Phase 2.

What to Do if You're in Limbo

Is your property in the path of the Morrisville Parkway Extension? If so, there are steps that you can take now to try to maximize the value of your home or business before it comes time to sell.

Also, if you need to move and need compensation now, there may be some strategies you can use - either way, just give us a call for a free case evaluation at 1-877-393-4990.

We'll be happy to discuss your situation and there's no obligation to hire our firm afterwards.

Jason Campbell is a NC land condemnation attorney at the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm.

Prior to his work at our firm, Jason worked for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for 13 years, where he handled condemnation litigation throughout the state.

He has tried cases in nearly every region of the state of North Carolina.

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