Traffic

Sharp merge worries some Triangle Expressway drivers

Posted January 9, 2013

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— The newest stretch of the Triangle Expressway has been open for a few weeks, giving drivers in western Wake County a faster route to Durham and Research Triangle Park.

But there is a surprise at the end of the expressway – a sharp curve to merge onto N.C. Highway 55.

There is only one sign alerting drivers to the merge pattern, and no signs warn of the sharpness of the curve or tell drivers to slow down.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority said it has received some complaints from concerned drivers and is considering putting up more warning signs.

“I like having the bypass. I like it a whole lot,” said Ellen Tinsely, who frequently takes Interstate 540 South to the 55 Bypass in Holly Springs, then exits toward Fuquay-Varina.

“No traffic, wide-open lanes. It's beautiful,” she said. “No ruts or anything.”

Everything is fine, Tinsley says, “until you come over the top of the hill and you're at a hard right-hand turn.”

She said the curve took her by surprise the first time.

“I didn't know where the road was going from there,” she said. “I slammed on my brakes and stopped.”

Sharp merge worries some Triangle Expressway drivers Sharp merge worries some Triangle Expressway drivers

Tinsley said she’s worried that it's an accident waiting to happen.

“If you miss that turn, you're going to T-bone into the traffic on Highway 55 East,” she said.

Jason Peterson, a project manager with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, said the exit is built to federal standards.

“We’ve had a couple of concerns since we’ve opened the road last month about the sharpness of that curve and the visibility,” he said.

Peterson said state engineers would make recommendations for more caution signs as soon as possible.

“We're going to call some attention to that to make sure folks see that as they approach the top of the hill coming off the ramp.”

Tinsley hopes the extra signs will go up quickly.

“I don't mind paying my tolls at all,” she said. “But I don't want to see somebody get hurt.”

37 Comments

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  • piene2 Jan 10, 2013

    "Seriously, do we have to have rude comments regarding NC drivers. I'm a native, and I can assure you that NC natives are a rare species in the RTP area. How many do YOU know? They are certainly not a majority of drivers on area roads.
    24601"

    That is why they are so east to spot. They stick out like sore thumbs.

  • Stringbean Jan 10, 2013

    "Stringbean-that picture was taken before it opened to the public." *** I guess you dont spend much time over there. I do and its like that a good part of every day.

  • corey3rd2 Jan 10, 2013

    How much money is the Tollbooth folks spending on all those phony ads claiming someone being home 15 minutes early lets you cook food for you family and watch the 6 o'clock news?

  • look deeper Jan 10, 2013

    From the article: "Jason Peterson, a project manager with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, said the exit is built to federal standards..."

    "You're not going to convince anyone in DOT or the Turnpike Authority that their new baby is ugly."
    Pseudonym

    I can not help but keep hearing one of the greatest lines ever in any movie, over and over right now; from MIB "Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training. Now please step this way, as we provide you with our final test: an eye exam."

  • kikinc Jan 10, 2013

    Stringbean-that picture was taken before it opened to the public.

  • 24601 Jan 10, 2013

    Seriously, do we have to have rude comments regarding NC drivers. I'm a native, and I can assure you that NC natives are a rare species in the RTP area. How many do YOU know? They are certainly not a majority of drivers on area roads.

  • mojridingrb Jan 10, 2013

    It should have never been a toll road in the 1st place.

  • Stringbean Jan 10, 2013

    Lol !!! ... look at the picture ! No one is on that road. You can drive over any of the over-passes and see how empty it is.

  • Not_So_Dumb Jan 10, 2013

    If this road ever gets used to capacity, most of the exits will be huge bottlenecks. They are all very slow and sharp, which will back up traffic onto the expressway. Very poor design.

  • admyank Jan 10, 2013

    What ever they have collected is severely lower than what their expectations are.

    Think of it like this - you have a toll road, and only 10 people per hour use it, and you need 250 people per hour to pay for it - then this was built as a SHAM.

    The pricing points for it is like $400 to go around the entire loop, versus twelve cents per mile.

    So who are they really trying to get to buy into this? I know their mentality - eventually people will get fed up with the traffic jam to pay $12 a day to drive to RTP.

    Not me. $12 plus the gas? It is a SHAM!

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