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Will you drive the Apex bypass? Third leg of TriEx opens Thursday.

View Triangle Expressway in a larger map

The Apex Bypass -- better known as the third leg of the the Triangle Expressway -- opens to traffic Thursday morning.  Toll collection (and maybe E-ZPass use, too - see 12/18 Road Worrier with reader comments) starts Jan. 2. (12/18 update: new toll-rate map attached below. Eventually, it'll be available at ncquickpass.com, too.)

It extends the 540 Outer Loop another six miles from U.S. 64 at Apex to N.C. 55 at Holly Springs, providing an alternative to the worst rush-hour congestion in southwestern Wake County. (See 12/20 story Triangle Expressway gives more Wake residents a choice, starting Thursday with reader comments.)

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/#storylink=cpy

Is this what you've been waiting for? Do you have your transponder?  Do you plan to drive the new section of TriEx?  Please let me know: email me with your daytime contact info, or call me at 919-829-4527.

N.C. highways to get military-themed welcome signs

Visitors driving into North Carolina will soon see new signs welcoming them to the "Nation's Most Military Friendly State."

Officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation and the N.C. Bankers Association plan to unveil the new signs at a news conference in Raleigh on Oct. 26.

The bankers group developed and helped pay for the signs, which will go up at the state border on I-95, I-85 and Highway 17.

Get that junk out of your trunk!

The N.C. Department of Transportation has a funny way of informing us how a heavy car could cost us and the environment.

Check it out the video featuring our good friend, J. Peder Zane.

Future looks dim for Battle Bridge Road crossing

DOT engineers didn't sound hopeful as they discussed what to do with the bridge across Old Battle Bridge Road with Wendell commissioners.

State awards $734,384 for clean-fuel cars

The N.C. Solar Center is distributing $734,384 to 16 grant recipients throughout the state to promote clean fuel and electric vehicles.

The money, courtesy of the N.C. Department of Transportation, will largely be used to offset the cost of purchasing electric cars. According to N.C. State University's Solar Center, the grants will help reduce transportation-related emissions in N.C. counties that don't meet federal clean-air standards.

Former Southport mayor and Easley aide visit federal building

A former Southport mayor and a former top aide to former Gov. Mike Easley paid visits to the federal building today, where a grand jury was meeting. Records indicate the grand jury is investigating numerous activities within the Easley administration, but the jury's work is secret and so its focus is unclear.

Norman Holden, the former mayor of Southport and a friend of former Gov. Mike Easley, arrived at about 10 a.m., left for lunch, then returned before exiting at 3 p.m., J. Andrew Curliss reports. Holden did not have a lawyer with him and declined to comment.

Holden had an unusual arrangement with the N.C. Department of Transportation that paid him roughly $20,000 a year as a regional liaison. A federal subpoena indicates authorities are interested in that arrangement.

Another person who visited the federal building today is Susan Rabon, a former top aide to Easley. She and her attorney, Stephen Petersen of Raleigh's Smith Moore Leatherwood firm, left just before 5 p.m. and also declined comment. Rabon had appeared at the federal building at least once before when the grand jury was meeting.

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