Local News

Traffic signal project easing Capital Boulevard clog, officials say

Posted August 23, 2013

— For tens of thousands of commuters, Capital Boulevard is a daily headache.

“It's a busy highway here,” driver Ron McKoy said. “I just go with the flow.”

Liana Dienas uses Capital Boulevard for her daily commute to Cary. She said she’s constantly hitting the brakes.

“It’s really bad around 5:30 p.m.,” she said.

But the Capital Boulevard blues are getting better.

Capital Boulevard Signal project smoothing traffic on Capital Boulevard

Raleigh traffic engineer Mike Kennon says the city has synchronized the traffic signals on its portion of the road. The change is improving the timing of signals at intersections, allowing traffic to move faster.

“We've already gotten some feedback that drivers have noticed Capital Boulevard is different,” Kennon said.

City officials say the trip on Capital Boulevard should take a few minutes less than it used to. It may not sound like a lot, but planners say it adds up.

“Multiply a minute and a half by 67,000 vehicles, and that's a lot of time, that's a lot of environmental savings,” Kennon said. “That's just huge.”

Engineers are synching more than 600 signals all over Raleigh. The northeastern part of the city is done. Southwest Raleigh should be completed later this fall, including signals along Western Boulevard. The other parts of the city should be online next year.

When the multimillion-dollar project is done, engineers will be able to adjust the timing for different times of the day and for special events. In the meantime, Dienas and other drivers try to catch the lights just the right way and speed through town.

And if they miss the wave, they just have to be patient.

“If you hit it at the wrong time, you're going to hit every single light, and you're going to be stuck in traffic,” Dienas said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ligonmaterial23 Aug 26, 2013

    Just do what wake forest did , build a '' BY-PASS'' then fill IT with stop lights and shopping .

  • busyb97 Aug 23, 2013

    Capital is a nightmare no matter which way you slice it. BUt I lived north of Raleigh for 6+ years. Had to travel Capital nearly every day, all hours. Honestly, MOST of the time, we caught all of the green lights...so not sure when they did this work, but it's not been THAT bad as far as the lights. YES, if you timed it wrong on one light, you would catch it, and then likely catch several of the lights ahead, but in the 6 years, I usually just sailed on through.

    Now CROSSING Capital Blvd on an intersecting street, that's another story!! HATED that. Lights were LONG, and way too short to get very many cars through usually.

    Biggest hassle is getting into your needed lane safely! If you don't do it after getting on Capital, it's scary changing lanes (especially if you do catch a red light).

    It's a challenge that is not for the faint of heart! :) Glad I don't deal with it now way out in rural Chatham County...ahhhhh.

  • micah Aug 23, 2013

    And, Beachlover, it has taken a long time because the infastructure has been changed to accommodate this. New controllers had to be installed at every intersection, and new control wiring and fiber optic had to be installed from every intersection to the central control station. It was/is quite a labor intensive and expensive undertaking.

  • micah Aug 23, 2013

    “If you hit it at the wrong time, you're going to hit every single light, and you're going to be stuck in traffic,” Dienas said.

    Ummm, no. If you get stopped at one light, then you have to wait at that light. If traffic follows the speed limit after this light turns green, you shouldn't have to stop at another one along the synchronized portion.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 23, 2013

    Good. I almost never use Capital and I avoid it altogether during the rush times of folks going to and from work. For all you poor commuters that HAVE to use that route every work day, hope this eases your pain a bit.

  • common tater Aug 23, 2013

    The same reason no one can fix all the broken signals in Western Wake, where you have to sit longer waiting for the opposite direction turn arrow, even with no car there to trip the sensor.

  • StarvingArtist Aug 23, 2013

    I'll still bypass Capitol Boulevard, thank you.

  • beachlvr0804 Aug 23, 2013

    And why did it take so long for someone to come up with the bright idea to sync the lights on Capital? This road has been a nightmare for years.... This should have been done a long time ago......

  • uncbabie Aug 23, 2013

    Up next Glenwood Ave? Pretty please.

  • Obamacare saves lives Aug 23, 2013

    Huge Jerry......huge!!