RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation opened the new Timber Drive Extension in Garner to traffic on Tuesday, Dec. 13, nearly 10 months ahead of schedule. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held the same afternoon to celebrate the completion of the new road, as well as name the new bridge over Mahler's Creek in honor of former five-term Garner Mayor Don Rohrbaugh, who was instrumental in the construction of both Timber Drive and its extension.
"This project is essential to the mobility of this community, which is growing rapidly and needs new infrastructure to keep up with increasing traffic demand," said NCDOT Secretary Gene Conti, who gave the ceremony's keynote address. "Don recognized the importance of this route in the life of this region and worked hard to make it a reality."
Rohrbaugh was elected as Garner mayor in 1991 and went on to serve five consecutive terms. He also served as a member of the Garner Planning Board, Garner Area School Advisory Council, I-40 High Occupancy Vehicle Policy Committee, Board of Directors for the League of Municipalities and Wake County Board of Adjustment, as well as chairman of the Wake County Transportation Advisory Committee and co-chair of the Garner Centennial Committee. He was presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2001 in recognition of his service to the state of North Carolina.
The dedication of the bridge in Rohrbaugh's honor was requested by the Garner Town Council. The N.C. Board of Transportation passed a resolution approving the naming on Dec.1.
The 1.4-mile Timber Drive Extension is a four-lane divided highway connecting N.C. 50 and White Oak Road in Garner. The $9.4 million project was constructed by Fred Smith Co. of Raleigh.
The extension is a top transportation priority for the town and is expected to improve traffic flow into Garner and south Raleigh from Johnston County. In addition to the funding provided by NCDOT, the Town of Garner paid $2.4 million for right of way acquisition and sidewalks on both sides of the roadway.