Local News

Tryon Road a tale of plowing priorities

Posted January 30, 2014
Updated January 31, 2014

— When it sleets and snows in North Carolina, the state’s Department of Transportation takes on the plowing of major routes, while cities and towns take care of major roads in their jurisdictions.

It’s a system that usually works, unless there are conflicting priorities.

That’s the case on Tryon Road: Cary plows its part, but it's responsibility ends at the town line. The part of Tryon Road that leads into Raleigh is outside city limits, so though residents there have Raleigh addresses, the road maintenance is actually a DOT job.

The result is a line in the snow at the intersection where plows can turn around.

Brendon LeBlanc works at Gentle Care Animal Hospital and drives Tryon Road every day. On Thursday, when the area was still dealing with ice and snow left over from Tuesday’s winter storm, he wished he had a Cary address – not Raleigh.

“It was OK, but as you come down into Raleigh, it was very icy,” he said.

An aerial view shows clear, dry lanes along Cary’s portion of Tryon Road. Then the road is squeezed down to one clear lane. Raleigh's resources go to other parts of town. 

“I wonder why one city does a better job than another city?” LeBlanc asked.

Raleigh spokeswoman Jane Kirkpatrick explained. "Winter storm street treatment that the part of Tryon Road in question is not in the Raleigh city limits and therefore not a City of Raleigh responsibility," she said.

Raleigh Transportation Field Services Manager Chris McGee said the city maintains 1,050 roads in Raleigh, so they must rank them to determine which ones to clear and which ones to leave for NCDOT.

Priority is based on traffic volume.

“Major traffic carriers, bus routes, something that would take you by a hospital,” get top priority, McGee said.

Scott Hecht, director of Public Works for Cary, is proud to say the priorities in his town are a little different.

“We’ve made the choice. We plow ’em all,” he said.

While Cary has 25 percent fewer roads than Raleigh, they have nearly double the trucks and plows. That’s because Town Council members years ago issued a directive that snow removal is a top priority, no matter who owns the road.

“We've got the staff to do (it),” Hect said. “We're going to get out there and do it. We won't wait on DOT.”

Both Cary and Raleigh crews have put in more than 4,000 hours of labor this week on the storm.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • rosemarymcdonald23 Jan 31, 2014

    Actally, Yates Mill Pond Rd has two public schools on it, therefore, should fall under the priority of plowing for school bus routes!

    View quoted thread

  • rmilar Jan 31, 2014

    It is a matter of mixing lawsuits and common sense. Seriously, would your students be injured in a 5 MPH crash in the snow? Snow is not a big deal, just a little slippery, can cause a prob, but jeez!

  • kikinc Jan 31, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Cary plowed roads in Morrisville. I know. I watched a town of Cary truck plow my street.

    Cary didn't go out and spend a ton of money on plows. They bought blades, YEARS ago, that can be attached to the front of existing vehicles. Maybe if more towns thought that way, Wake County wouldn't have been out of school for 4 days straight because of a little snow.

  • oleguy Jan 31, 2014

    Yah think we might just have some bigger problems to solve,,, Mother Nature is taking care of the roads now,

  • dwntwnboy2 Jan 31, 2014

    It snowed- some roads are at the top of the list, some aren't. My street is NEVER, EVER plowed during a storm, but the bigger roads are and I'm right downtown. Some folks will just find something to whine about all the time. Raleigh is MUCH bigger than Cary and has miles and miles of roads that Cary doesn't. I think they did a pretty good job considering how much area they do have to cover. We did much better than Atlanta, that's for sure!

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Jan 31, 2014

    "Tryon Rd does not run to Clayton. It runs to Garner Rd." - upchuck

    Technically you are correct, upchuck, about the eastern terminus of Tryon. But everyone who matters knows that it is part of a larger artery which becomes US 70 heading SE to Clayton. Likewise at the western terminus Tryon becomes US 64 west, but is the same east-west artery.

    :-) With a little bit of imagination, you can go along way without using a GPS!

  • North Carolina Cutie Jan 31, 2014

    Why take chances with people lives, just clean the roads all of the taxes end up in the government.

  • Honesty first Jan 31, 2014

    The guy from Cary says we plow them all. Do they plow roads that are not in Cary. I guess not since they turned around at the city limits. Cary wants to take credit where there is none. Get wake county to plow if the street in not in Raleigh. Maybe Raleigh should also plow in Wake Forest.

  • UpChuck Jan 31, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Tryon Rd does not run to Clayton. It runs to Garner Rd.

  • Yellow Rider Jan 31, 2014

    Too many Yankees in Cary, obviously.