RTP Shortcuts Could Close Upon Triangle Parkway's Arrival

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority plans to close access to two roadways that serve thousands of RTP commuters when the planned Triangle Parkway opens in 2010.

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — 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.



Bruce Mildwurf, Reporter
David McCorkle, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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