Local News

RDU Traffic Not Supposed To Go Left, Wants To Go Left

Posted July 23, 2003

— A multi-million dollar traffic fix at Raleigh-Durham International Airport has turned into trouble.

Drivers are bypassing a new ramp designed to keep vehicles moving smoothly and safely. On any given day, drivers can be seen making illegal left turns onto I-40 East.

Tuesday was no exception when a grey car slowly, carefully, moved along Aviation Parkway, past the "No Left Turn" signs, over the straight-arrow pavement markings, onto the I-40 ramp.

An illegal left turn.

Minutes later, another car violated the road rules. Then came an illegal left turn trifecta -- three in a row: a Hummer, Ford Sport Trac and Jeep.

It would appear people just don't care about the rules anymore.

"Well, a lot of people have used this interchange for years and are used to turning left onto I-40 Eastbound," said airport spokesperson Mindy Hamlin.

The Department of Transportation identified the left turn off Aviation onto I-40 East as a choke-point. Most of the traffic backed up into RDU.

The aiport paid $2 million to build a right-turn exit. The problem is, people still want to turn left.

The airport has tried to warn drivers of the change.

"We have continued to put markings on the road and signs up," Hamlin said, "and I think the important thing is to continue to educate the public about the change."

Drivers need to pay attention. The Highway Patrol will start patrolling the ramp daily.

Along with the Highway Patrol, the DOT is watching the people who make illegal left turns. A similar problem could creep up in other parts of the Triangle; the state plans similar ramps at several other I-40 interchanges.


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