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540 Outer Loop exit @ Davis Drive, opened in 2007, will close June 1

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Call it planned obsolescence:  State roadbuilders knew in July 2007 -- when they opened the NC 540 section of Raleigh's Outer Loop through southern Research Triangle Park -- that the Kitt Creek Road / Davis Drive interchange would not last for long.

At least they were pretty sure.  So it wasn't really a surprise when NCDOT announced today that the interchange will close for good on June 1, a bit less than three years after it opened.

Workers at Cisco Systems and NetApp are among the big beneficiaries of this intherchange, because it delivers them witthin one or two stoplights of their parking lots. It links NC 540 to Kitt Creek Road a short hop from Kitt Creek's intersection with Davis.

After June 1 they'll have longer drives to the office, getting off NC 540 either north of Davis at NC 54 or south of it, at NC 55.

DOT planners figured for decades that the Triangle Parkway probably would be built through RTP eventually as an extension of the NC 147 Durham Freeway south from I-40, coming out near the spot where NC 540 crosses Davis Drive now.  

But nobody could be certain that would actually happen until the NC Turnpike Authority finally worked out the financing and started construction in 2009 of the Triangle Parkway, which is scheduled to open in late 2011.  The new toll road's interchange with Davis Drive will partly overlap the one there now.

DOT folks were so certain that Triangle Parkway eventually would be built that when they built the NC 540 / Kitt Creek interchange, they also did some of the preliminary earth-moving work for the Davis Drive interchange that will replace it.  

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It's a horribly designed exit but ...

that doesn't mean the exit should be closed and moved up to a point where it's tolled.

If you make something convenient and then make it inconvenient, people are just going to stop using it.

In addition to impacting the people who use that exit to commute daily, it impacts people who dont live in North Raleigh but use it to get to businesses on 54 and the Beaver Creek area during the day. I know I wont be going that direction for lunch after the current Davis Drive exit closes. Perhaps the politicians that made this decision can explain to these business owners why they cut off a large portion of RTP from their businesses.

TW Alexander is closing too - i think

I use to take 55 to TW and then head into RTP that way.  I think that road will also be closed because of this folley. 

How do we find out which politicians supported this? 

George

A few points to ponder: - A

A few points to ponder:

- A lot of money was wasted in building a temporary connector that had a very short life span

- The temporary connector has only been reasonably usable since November '09.

- They opened the connector almost simultaneously at the same time as starting the Davis Dr. expansion. This caused the connector to be limited to one lane, severely hampering its usefulness for the first 2 years. Some days, I avoided it due to back ups. Terrible, terrible coordination among our road building departments

- When the Turnpike people announced the new road, they said the connector would stay in place "as long as possible". Well, it wasn't very long. They barely started knocking down trees. We saw this pattern before with the old Slater knock off. The early closing is purely for the convenience of the road workers. The actual commuters using it: To Heck With Them

- The final alignment will cause a lot of hassle for S. RTP commuters. They will have to go more than 1 mile out of their way north, then U-turn back. (Well, it will be an off ramp, but in general, like a U-turn.) It is going to be very, very tempting to just take Davis directly to 40 and bypass the toll with this alignment.

Close it

That was the original plan when they ran out of money to pay for the rest of I-540, they need to follow through.

Another way to force us to pay tolls

The business case for the Triangle Expressway would not stand by itself. So, they had to come up with more creative ways to get toll revenue. The first is the stealth toll on 540 somewhere around 54. I say stealth, because it wasn't included in any of the neighborhood documents presented at the Dec 9th public meeting ( http://www.westernwakeinfo.com/public_meetings.html) and hardly mentioned in the press. Most folks I spoke to assume the toll will be placed at the intersection of the new 540. We all paid for 540 with tax dollars but those of us who want to jump on at 55 and head east will have to pay again.

Now they take away the Davis Drive exit and move it to the tollway so if you want to use it, you got it, you now have to pay a toll.

This whole Tollway business has been slimy and deceptive from the start. And my guess as the real facts emerge, it will only get worse. But by then, it will be too late.

G

Close an useful exit due to bad drivers?

What is the point of closing an exsiting useful exit? Bad drivers? I never see any traffic accident on this intersection yet. If bad driver turns out a reason, should we close most of intersections?
This intersection is very convinient since built.

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About the blogger

Bruce Siceloff reports on traffic and transportation. A News & Observer reporter, editor and blogger since 1976, he took over the Road Worrier column in 2003. Lately he drives I-40 with the cruise control set at 68 mph. You can e-mail Bruce, call him at 919-829-4527, check out his Crosstown Traffic blog or follow him (@Road_Worrier) on Twitter.
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