Traffic

Feedback Wanted on Parkway Plans

Posted March 25, 2008 6:18 a.m. EDT
Updated March 26, 2008 10:20 a.m. EDT

— Reducing traffic congestion around Research Triangle Park is one of the many goals for the proposed Triangle Parkway, a six-lane toll highway between the Durham Freeway and N.C. Highway 540 in Morrisville.

But the decision to cut off two connectors to Davis Drive and T.W. Alexander Drive for safety reasons has motorists who use the roadways on a daily basis concerned about what will happen when the roadways close. Some say it will only funnel more drivers onto existing roads.

That's why the North Carolina Turnpike Authority is holding an open meeting from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and a public hearing at 7 p.m. for residents to weigh in on the plans for the 3.4-mile stretch of highway. Both are at the Sigma Xi Center auditorium at 3106 East N.C. Highway 54, between Davis Drive and T.W. Alexander Drive.

Steve Dewitt with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority said that when the Parkway was initially planned 50 years ago both Davis Drive and T.W. Alexander Drive were designed as temporary connectors.

Toll roads will help make the road project possible, Dewitt said.

"Even if you choose not to take this toll road, people will choose to take it," Dewitt said. "What it will do is take traffic off of N.C. 54, N.C. 55 and I-40 and Davis Drive."



The Turnpike Authority has said it plans to keep both connectors open as long as possible.

For the toll project to move forward, it must receive funding from the General Assembly during the short session, which begins in May.

The Parkway, slated to open in 2010, will have other ramps to Davis Drive near big RTP companies.

Drivers would be billed automatically without having to slow down and pay, using electronic transponders instead.

“This state and every other state is suffering financially. We don’t have the financing needed to build these very expensive projects, and so tolling can help in very strategic areas,” said David Joyner, with the N.C. Turnpike Authority.