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DOT Presents Traffic Solution Plan Around RTP

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RALEIGH — During rush hour there are thousands of people caught in the most infamous parking lot in our area -- the roads surrounding the Research Triangle Park. Monday, theDepartment of Transportationpresented its plan to ease the traffic.

Many people drive in the traffic jam every day, and it adds up in stress, air pollution and lower productivity. The state has a plan to stop it.

You would think some more roads would stop our traffic problems in the RTP, but the DOT says that is not going to happen. We cannot pave our way out of congestion.

"The analysis of our discussion says to us that we've got to do a lot more than that," said N.C. Secretary of Transportation Norris Tolson.

The DOT presented a multi-faceted approach to a traffic solution for the RTP which includes improvements to existing roads.

For example, key arteries into the RTP will be widened and will have better synchronized lights and turn lanes.

"It's not going to take cars off the roads," said Tolson. "But it may help them move better in a more even flow. For example, synchronizing signals.. It doesn't take much of a slow down on I-40 before you've slowed down a lot of people."

The DOT will call for accelerating construction of I-540 going southwest from I-40 to NC 55. Other measures include removing vehicles more quickly after crashes and speeding up the schedule for a regional rail system.

RTP executives have worked on this traffic management plan with the DOT and say they cannot ask for much more.

"Every employee would like to have it solved next Monday," said CISCO Systems Executive Vice President Selby Wellman. "It's just not feasible. It's not different than any other business problem. If it's this complex, it takes a very complex solution."

The price tag for all the improvements is around $450 million over a course of five or more years. Right now, more than half of that is unfunded.


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