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Slater Road Shortcut Aims To Ease RTP Traffic

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DURHAM COUNTY, N.C. — Sometimes good things come in small packages. That is how traffic engineers trying to ease congestion along Interstate 40 describe a few hundred yards of new roadway now open to RTP commuters.

Almost every workday morning, one of the worst traffic spots is along Interstate 40 West between Interstate 540 and Page Road.

According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, a little road through the woods could be a big help to Research Triangle Park commuters.

The Slater Road Connector is the newest quick fix to relieve some of the strain of the Interstate 40 shuffle.

As drivers head away from North Raleigh on I-540 and pass over I-40, the connector cuts off the ramp to I-40 East.

Many commuters may not even know it is there. Two small signs indicating a connection to Page Road are the only clues to the Slater Road shortcut.

"We need to beef that up. Within the next few weeks we're going to go back out, add some more ground-mounted signs to alert more motorists that it's out here and it's open," DOT engineer Joey Hopkins said.

Once drivers find the Slater Road connector, they will exit the woods into familiar territory. Drivers are brought close to all the important RTP arteries: Highway 54, Davis Drive and Page Road.

The connector feeds traffic right into some heavily-populated office campuses and allows I-540 commuters to get directly into RTP and skip the trip on I-40.

One problem is that it is only a solution for the morning commute.

"The big relief here with this route is the morning commute. It gets you heading toward the park in that general direction in the a.m. In the p.m., you can't get back on 540 in this direction, unfortunately," Hopkins said.

The Slater Road connector took less than a year to build and cost taxpayers just over $300,000.