Local News

Tryon Road widening creates carpool traffic tie-up

Posted September 18, 2008 5:05 p.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2008 6:55 p.m. EDT

— Construction on Tryon Road has created traffic tie-ups near Swift Creek Elementary School, and some parents said they fear children will get hurt in a future wreck.

Before a widening project on the road, parents could pull off on the shoulder near the school to wait in the carpool line in the mornings and afternoons. The construction eliminated the shoulder, forcing vehicles in the school carpool line to back up traffic on Tryon Road.

Drivers who don't want to get caught in the line sometimes try to cut around the stopped vehicles, parent David Jones said.

"They are crossing the double-yellow (line), going into that other lane," Jones said. "They are honking their horns, pulling out in front of other people."

He said he's seen a number of near wrecks and close calls. Police said they have no reports of any wrecks in the area.

"It's really dangerous," he said.

Raleigh officials said they had hoped to complete the widening project by May, but delays have pushed the completion date back to late next summer.

Jones and other parents questioned why the road work wasn't done exclusively during the summer, when school is out of session.

Swift Creek Elementary Principal Jim Argent said the problem seems to be a bit worse in the afternoon. About 200 students carpool, and the dismissal process takes about 15 minutes.

"In less than 15 minutes, we are getting all of our students off campus in a very safe, orderly fashion," Argent said.

The school has sent several letters to prepare parents for the traffic mess, he said. School administrators also have tried to speed things up during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up, he said.

"If in any way, shape or form you can put your child on the bus, we would suggest (doing so) until we can get the traffic situation cleared up," he said.

Jones said he believes a police presence along Tryon Road would curb driver's attempts to cut around the backed-up traffic.

"It's just craziness out here," he said.

Capt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol said troopers would monitor the situation near the school.

"I would absolutely welcome that," Argent said.