Morrisville officials concerned about Apple’s impact on housing and transportation

Wake County News

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The town of Morrisville believes it will be one of the adjacent communities impacted by the construction of the new Apple campus at Research Triangle Park.

When thousands of jobs are created and new homes are built it affects traffic on the roads.

“Our two biggest challenges are housing and transportation,” said Morrisville town councilman Steve Rao.

Communities like Morrisville are already struggling with how to deal with increased traffic volume as building booms in the area.

Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia asked the North Carolina Department of Transportation about how it would address road infrastructure in the area and officials said it’s too early to tell.

Police and fire services also have to be upgraded along with water and sewer.

Apple has committed $110 million for infrastructure improvements, but municipalities say they will have to see how it averages out.

“I hope municipalities and all the local governments in the region can be part of a discussion on how we divide that money up,” said Rao.

The 280 acres of land which will house Apple’s new million-square-foot campus will require tons of steel and lots of concrete.

With the area already in a construction boom, concrete suppliers like Micke Douglas of E & M Concrete said resources are already stretched.

“There’s not enough concrete to go around,” Douglas said.

With shortages already occurring because of the residential building boom, if Apple needs tons of
concrete for its campus, something will have to give and it could slow residential construction.

“It will have an effect for us as an industry as far as residential construction because we won’t have enough drivers or trucks to go around,” she said.

Apples is not scheduled to occupy the campus until 2023 so many issues will be worked out before then.

Apple also says it will contribute millions to help create broadband for the area.

As a high-tech company, Apple depends on broadband and the coming 5G network for many of its products.

Cellphones and mobile devices all require some kind of internet access.

The latest will be 5G which is a super-fast WiFi network, but hard-wired devices also require broadband.

Right now, many parts of the state don’t have adequate access to broadband, according to the North Carolina Department of Information Technology.

“It is going to take a variety of initiatives, funding sources and stakeholder groups working together to close the digital divide in North Carolina,” said Jim Weaver, who is the secretary and state CIO of the information technology department.

Meanwhile, many people learned in the past year just how crucial broadband can be.

“One thing COVID has taught us is without broadband we can’t produce, said Rao. “We can’t work at home, our kids can’t learn.”

Rao added that broadband “is going to be an increasingly important infrastructure investment.”

Apple says it will contribute millions to helping improve broadband in the area, but we’ll have to see how it develops.

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