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Tryon Road widening creates carpool traffic tie-up

Posted September 18, 2008

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— Construction on Tryon Road has created traffic tie-ups near Swift Creek Elementary School, and some parents said they fear children will get hurt in a future wreck.

Before a widening project on the road, parents could pull off on the shoulder near the school to wait in the carpool line in the mornings and afternoons. The construction eliminated the shoulder, forcing vehicles in the school carpool line to back up traffic on Tryon Road.

Drivers who don't want to get caught in the line sometimes try to cut around the stopped vehicles, parent David Jones said.

"They are crossing the double-yellow (line), going into that other lane," Jones said. "They are honking their horns, pulling out in front of other people."

He said he's seen a number of near wrecks and close calls. Police said they have no reports of any wrecks in the area.

"It's really dangerous," he said.

Raleigh officials said they had hoped to complete the widening project by May, but delays have pushed the completion date back to late next summer.

Jones and other parents questioned why the road work wasn't done exclusively during the summer, when school is out of session.

Swift Creek Elementary Principal Jim Argent said the problem seems to be a bit worse in the afternoon. About 200 students carpool, and the dismissal process takes about 15 minutes.

"In less than 15 minutes, we are getting all of our students off campus in a very safe, orderly fashion," Argent said.

The school has sent several letters to prepare parents for the traffic mess, he said. School administrators also have tried to speed things up during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up, he said.

"If in any way, shape or form you can put your child on the bus, we would suggest (doing so) until we can get the traffic situation cleared up," he said.

Jones said he believes a police presence along Tryon Road would curb driver's attempts to cut around the backed-up traffic.

"It's just craziness out here," he said.

Capt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol said troopers would monitor the situation near the school.

"I would absolutely welcome that," Argent said.


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  • falc Sep 19, 2008

    For those opposed to ticketing. Crossing a double yellow line is considered illegal passing, which is a 4 point offense. The only thing that gets you more points is passing a stopped school bus.

    Sure people are just trying to get around stopped traffic to get where they are going, but so are people who pass a stopped school bus. It's all well and good until some kid, or anyone for that matter, gets hurt in an accident.

  • falc Sep 19, 2008

    The traffic in this stretch of Tryon is often backed up both directions during the early morning commute and evening commute when there is no carpool line. For that matter so are the other roads around. I cannot make a left turn out of my neighborhood (built long before the congestion) at certain times due to the traffic. Welcome to Wake County. If you do not want to be stuck in traffic around here, you have to think outside the box, be willing to take alternate routes, sometimes go a little out of the way, or avoid traveling certain routes at certain times. Otherwise, be ready to be patient.
    My understanding is that the carpool backup is from the school back towards the direction of Cary. If someone wants to avoid it, they can get on US 1 to I-40 at 1) Tryon, 2) Cary Pkwy, 2) Walnut St. or 4) Crossroads Mall (depending on where they start) and then get off at I-40 at Gorman (very near Tryon). Traffic on I-40 should not usually be an issue that direction during carpool time.

  • Kellion Sep 19, 2008

    Hmm, let me ponder this going a different route concept. I live about 2 miles from the Cary city limit sign. So, should I go all the way to either Garner or Apex when my original destination is either Cary or I-40? (The real problem is I-40 access.)

    Nay, I think not. Nor do I think ticketing people is the answer. They are just going around the one's that are stopped in the road.

    Now we know why they saved this portion of the widening project to just about dead last. I think the next phase is going to conflict with a golf course that has been around just about as long as Raleigh itself has.

  • Deb1003 Sep 19, 2008


    I didn't say to shut down Tryon Rd. All I said was to ticket those folks that are breaking the law by crossing a double-yellow line. I know my neighborhood and I know what schools have backups due to carpool lines. I go another way, or leave earlier. Crossing a double-yellow puts those drivers in the oncoming lane at risk.

  • SheriffTruman Sep 19, 2008

    Deb1003, you are right, we should shut down Tryon road so some people can use it as a parking lot. How dare people actually try to drive on a major street that connects quite a few other major roads from South Raleigh all the way to Cary/Apex.

    As far as hte bridge in Minnesota, they paid much more than they normally would to expedite things, from fast tracking the design and approval process down to teh contractor. We could do all roads fast if we were willing to increase taxes to pay for them. Also, since they did not have to deal with traffic it sped things up quite a bit as well.

    Now, it is very possible that ATT held up Tryon as they have been behind on several projects all over the triangle as well, like Davis Drive.

  • falc Sep 19, 2008

    To clarify some geographical confusion. This area is where unincorporated portions of Swift Creek Township, Raleigh and the Town of Cary border one another and students come from all these areas. I think the school is in the unincorporated area. Raleigh is widening that section of Tryon (Cary widened other sections).

    The school, built many years ago when the area was strictly rural, is on a small plot of land with a very small parking lot in front (used for carpool) and a small staff parking area in back (also used for the bus lane). It uses an adjacent county park for its playground. This year it is more than 100 students over capacity, adding additional challenge to the road construction issue. The school asked students to ride the bus, but that may not be a viable alternative for all.

    Patience is a virtue.

  • EZeegoing Sep 19, 2008

    "I think we should be asking why it takes 2 years or more for a little widening project. Minnesota built an entire bridge in a year."

    I bet Minnesota don't have six overpaid white hats supervising three hispanic laborers. And we wonder why it takes so long, costs so much and falls apart !!!!

  • Deb1003 Sep 19, 2008

    Why not ticket the people crossing the double-yellow line? Perhaps then they will find a different route. It's not like this area is isolated.

  • speedy Sep 19, 2008

    I think we should be asking why it takes 2 years or more for a little widening project. Minnesota built an entire bridge in a year.

  • Kellion Sep 19, 2008

    I have lived in this area for 36 years and even went to Swift Creek School.

    I knew this was going to be an issue even before they started. I think the school needs to look at redesigning their parking lots. The main exit is 3 car lengths away from the stop light to get onto Tryon Road.

    Heck, I remember when there was only a stop sign at that busy little intersection. With the invasion of all these people moving into the area and causing congestion, I welcome the widening project.