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RTP Shortcuts Could Close Upon Triangle Parkway's Arrival

Posted December 4, 2007

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— When a roadway connecting N.C. Highways 540 and 147 opens in 2010, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority plans to close access to two roadways that serve thousands of Research Triangle Park commuters every day.

The roads, on each end of what will be the 3.5-mile Triangle Parkway, are connectors to Davis Drive and T.W. Alexander Drive.

RTP employees at companies such as Cisco have used them as shortcuts since N.C. 540 opened this summer.

"That was a temporary tie that was constructed during the construction of the N.C. 540 project," said Shannon Sweitzer, director of construction with the Turnpike Authority.

Sweitzer said the Davis Drive shortcut would be removed because of safety issues with the ramp for N.C. 540 eastbound merging with westbound traffic. For those vehicles merging left, he said, it would be too dangerous.

The Triangle Parkway, however, will have a ramp to a different part of Davis Drive that Sweitzer estimates to be less than 2 miles from companies, such as Cisco.

"We have been aware of the plan for some time and believe of the construction of the Triangle (Parkway) will provide improved mobility to the Research Triangle Park and improved access to our campus, overall," Cisco spokeswoman Kirsten Weeks said in a statement.

The connector at T.W. Alexander will also disappear for similar safety concerns.

"The spur that ties into T.W. Alexander will be removed once the turnpike facility is constructed," Sweitzer said. "It will be a dead end."

Access to Davis Drive and T.W. Alexander, for now, remains available for drivers heading to RTP.

"We will try to maintain traffic in the existing facilities as long as we can without impacting the schedule of construction in the parkway project," Sweitzer said.

The Turnpike Authority plans to have a public hearing on the plans sometime in late February or early March.

Construction on the Triangle Parkway is expected to begin next summer and be completed in 2010.

31 Comments

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  • Capt Mercury Dec 5, 2007

    Why does the WRAL story on this latest deconstruction idea from the DOT mention the short history of the Davis Drive connection, but they don't mention that the Alexander Drive connection has been there for decades! Removing a connection that has been around since before most of the RTP workers got here seems a lot more foolish than removing something that was advertised a temporary from the start. Imagine how many more vehicles will be forced to navigate feeder street in RTP when they close the Alexander Drive connection! I see grid-lock and chaos in our future, courtesy of the NCDOT-NCTA collusion. And BTW, the NCTA is stacked with developers and road builders. No direct payoff is necessary. It's now the American way!!!

  • Mo Dec 5, 2007

    "Whoever said that the Triangle Parkway was going from a subdivision in Morrisville to 147 was wrong. At one time, it was going to go there and the interchanges at 540/Kitts Creek/Davis was designed for that, but it will end at 540 now. More wasted money."
    I believe if you look at the way the interchange was built there are bridges to allow the connection into Morrisville. It's still on the long range plan.

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Dec 5, 2007

    we need tolls so that all you people at RTP can ride the bus or public transportation. I am tired of sitting in traffic because all you people do at work is talk about sports or shopping

  • Z Man Dec 5, 2007

    The triangle parkway is designed to divert traffic from the south/west coming UP NC540 instead of from the north/east coming DOWN I540. This road does nothing to allieviate I540 to NC147 traffic (and vice versa) off I40 because no one is going to pay a toll to drive 3 miles south to drive 3 miles north when they can instead drive 1.5 miles on I40 for free.

    This connector will be great from NC540 if they ever get around to extending it through Apex to Holly Springs and beyond.

    Cart before the horse?

    For those in N. Raleigh using I540 to NC540 to get to Cisco, bummer.

  • ApexNative Dec 5, 2007

    Road Geek: You posted "The long-term purpose of the Triangle Parkway is to link the Durham Freeway with 540, so that traffic is diverted from I-40 on the small stretch between the two major freeways. Once the eastern section of 540 (which by the way DOT does NOT want to label as Interstate for ease of tolling)is completed, it will hook up with the Triangle parkway to create a new tollway."

    The section of NC-540 from I-40 to NC-55 can't be called I-540 because it doesn't begin and end at either another interstate or federal US highway. It's a federal law on the naming of the highways. Once NC-540 reaches US-64 west of Apex, it will be renamed I-540. Tolling has nothing to do with it. That just a silly, unconfirmed rumor stated by the anti-toll folks. I-540 from US-70 to US-1 was called "Future I-540" until the full length was completed.

  • SheriffTruman Dec 5, 2007

    Whoever said that the Triangle Parkway was going from a subdivision in Morrisville to 147 was wrong. At one time, it was going to go there and the interchanges at 540/Kitts Creek/Davis was designed for that, but it will end at 540 now. More wasted money.

  • OpinionOnEverything Dec 5, 2007

    The long-term purpose of the Triangle Parkway is to link the Durham Freeway with 540, so that traffic is diverted from I-40 on the small stretch between the two major freeways. Once the eastern section of 540 (which by the way DOT does NOT want to label as Interstate for ease of tolling)is completed, it will hook up with the Triangle parkway to create a new tollway.

    It's a good idea for taxing through-traffic and relieving the bottleck on I-40 between 147 and 540, but it's a stupid idea for RTP commuters who will just over-use I-40 and all the other routes into RTP to avoid the toll. It will not speed traffic into the RTP, because traffic will still have to stop at every intersection with Davis or other collector roads. There are just too many toll-free alteratives that people will use to get to work.

  • TheAdmiral Dec 5, 2007

    Take away how I get to work and you better make it free. Cause I am not going to pay because you don't want me to make it to work on time.

  • smitty Dec 5, 2007

    I think they should put tollbooths on N. Salisbury so our legislators have to pay it to get into their climate controlled parking deck. Maybe $100 a pop.

  • Space Mountain Dec 5, 2007

    Another stupid idea from the DOT. Why would you close an exit that works? They are just going to make traffic worse, just like with the exit onto 40 now from 540 when they opened the new section of 540.

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