Raleigh, N.C. — Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh is pretty quiet at mid-morning.
But it’s a different story at rush hour, especially in the section between Interstate 540 and Duraleigh Road.
“It’s frustrating because there’s always stop-and-go traffic,” motorist Liz Marshall said.
Before the state completed Interstate 40 in the late 1980s, Glenwood Avenue was the main route between Raleigh and Durham. Now, more than 45,000 vehicles a day cram into the four lanes on Glenwood between Duraleigh Road and I-540.
The state Department of Transportation has a plan to unclog the major artery – and it starts with a makeover that will turn that section into a “superstreet.”
A superstreet would keep traffic flowing by eliminating the need for drivers on side streets to wait for a green light so they can cross Glenwood Avenue .
Instead, those drivers would turn right onto Glenwood, make a U-turn, then turn right again to continue on the side street.
DOT engineer Jim Dunlop, who has been working on the project, said removing complex traffic signals at intersections would keep vehicles moving on Glenwood and cost less than adding lanes.
“If we can open up those signals, we gain back that capacity without having to do a lot of construction,” he said.
A similar superstreet project that opened on U.S. Highway 15-501 in Chapel Hill in 2008 reduced travel times by 65 percent, Dunlop said.
There is a superstreet project under way along the Highway 55 Bypass in Holly Springs that will accommodate traffic around a new shopping area set to open next year.
Dunlop said superstreets are new to this area, and drivers would have to get used to it. The project on Glenwood Avenue would cost $101.3 million, and construction would begin in 2020.
But Marshall says she's ready.
“I think it's a great idea,” she said. “It would free up some of the congestion. It would give us a little room to move.”
The public can learn more about the superstreet proposal at a public workshop from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Elks Lodge on Lead Mine Road.