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Cary Hearing Considers $15 Million Road-Tunnel Project

Posted March 24, 2008

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— The public had a chance Monday evening to hear about a $15 million proposal to extend a street and construct a tunnel under downtown railroad tracks.

The goal of the Walker Street project is to provide motorists with a route past the rail tracks across Academy Street and Harrison Avenue, which freight and Amtrak trains use regularly, town officials said.

"Having an alternate route for those everyday commuters, in addition to emergency personnel, I think everyone will realize there's a need for the project," said Joe Moore, Cary's engineering services manager.

The proposed project would extend Waker Street north 1,200 feet to intersect with Chapel Hill Road. A road tunnel beneath the rail tracks would also have sidewalks and room for bicyclists.

The town has set aside approximately $980,000 in federal funds for the project. Construction could begin in spring 2010 and be completed by winter 2011.

Some downtown business owners questioned devoting that much money to the road tunnel.

"I do have concerns regarding the costs of the project," Glenda Westbrook said. "There are several other projects that may be important to look at before we begin that one."

Business owners suggested improving the streetscape, constructing a town square and converting the former Cary Elementary School into a community arts center.

The public meeting on the road tunnel ran from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, near Town Hall.

Town officials plan to hold several public hearings as they enter the design phase for the project.

37 Comments

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  • nisa-pizza Mar 25, 2008

    I-rae17.

    "Oh my goodness! And they have to hear the whistle at 3 am? What a horrible life to lead."

    My little niece and newphews love the train whistle at night. They think it's the Polar Express!

    Seriously, I've lived in Cary for over 16 years and they really do need to do something about the design of downtown. The trains don't bother me but the congestion in downtown, quaint as it may be is pretty bad with one lane in each direction at most points.

    That's what they need to work on.

  • Alicat Mar 25, 2008

    I hope they RECONSIDER.

  • 78FJ40 Mar 24, 2008

    Maybe they should consider lowering taxes if $15M pork projects like this one are in the budget!

  • enigma1469 Mar 24, 2008

    What a waste of tax dollars. Some peole have no clue.

  • l-rae17 Mar 24, 2008

    "What an ignorant statement! I suppose you would prefer that all children were raised in daycares by minimum wage workers, while mom goes to work so she can spend a larger income to pay for the same daycare?"

    Krillie - that statement really wasn't all that ignorant. I thought it was quite amusig. Just go for a drive around Cary.

    OH NO! The inhabitants of Cary have to WAIT for a train to go by. Oh my goodness! And they have to hear the whistle at 3 am? What a horrible life to lead.

    $15 million could be put to so much better use on something else. pffft.

  • Blues Man Z Mar 24, 2008

    Is this proposal an Early April Fool's joke? One can only hope so.

  • RedheadGirl Mar 24, 2008

    If you look at Cary's long range transportation plan, an additional future project is recommended to connect Harrison Ave to Kildaire Farm Rd. So I think this project in conjunction with that and the planned rail stop would all work well together. I live in that area and while the RR isn't always the source of the problem, traffic is a real headache getting across downtown so I'd welcome the new connection.

  • Z Man Mar 24, 2008

    My appologies hkypky - yes there is crime in Cary. But my point is that Cary has the least crime out of all our municipalities. It's the only one where I have no concerns about walking alone anywhere at anytime. Besides, the tunnel would be right in front of the police station.

  • haggis basher Mar 24, 2008

    Go this way everyday and the trains are very rarely a problem.
    A tunnel is a stupid idea anyway as its liable to fill up with water every time we have a decent rain and there is a bridge already only a short walk away. An earlier post had it right, this is another TTA boondoggle.

  • Student Nurse Mar 24, 2008

    "if you could equip all the non-working cary soccer moms' suv's with some kind of rail adapters, we could just hook them all together; maybe even create a tram between schools, starbucks, cary town center, then back to school; a nice big loop for them should free up the roads for people with actual jobs and responsibilities that they have to get to..."

    What an ignorant statement! I suppose you would prefer that all children were raised in daycares by minimum wage workers, while mom goes to work so she can spend a larger income to pay for the same daycare?

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