The Garner Death Curve

If you travel on Tryon Road between Raleigh’s Lake Wheeler Road and US 70-401 then you know what the Garner death curve is. At least, that’s what I call it. As you approach the two-lane, Norfolk-Southern Railroad bridge from either direction, your hands tend to migrate towards the 10 and 2 position on your steering wheel. You might even tense up a bit. This is the Garner death curve.

Tryon Road / Norfolk Southern Rail, Raleigh, NC (Google Maps)

Tryon Road / Norfolk Southern Rail, Raleigh, NC (Google Maps)

Why is this section of Tryon Road being neglected? The parts from Cary, NC to Lake Wheeler Road are mostly complete and practically done. Four glorious lanes of asphalt with a median. We might even get to participate in choosing some of the landscape for that median. Update 2/10/10 see comments for corrections from Eric Lamb, City of Raleigh.

Last December, a group of citizens started brainstorming on how South West Raleigh could get some attention to this forgotten part of Tryon Road. A group of neighbors from Renaissance Park are leading the effort to widen Tryon Road and complete the realignment project. You should sign their online petition if you haven’t already:

Tryon Road Realignment petition

We’re #15

According to the City of Raleigh 2009 Adopted Transportation plan [PDF] the Tryon Road Widening, Part C comes in at $8,482,000 and is described as follows:

This project will widen Tryon Road between Lake Wheeler Road to the Norfolk-Southern Railroad bridge as a four-lane median-divided curb and gutter section with sidewalks and streetlights on both sides.

Notice, this says nothing about the bridge. So the way I’m reading this is we build a road to another bottleneck. The icing on the cake, it’s slotted for 2011-2012. Update 2/10/10 see comments for corrections from Eric Lamb, City of Raleigh.

Why hasn’t the road been widened yet?

There are probably many factors involved in the lack of progress on Part C. The main one (that I am aware of) is the funding for the Norfolk-Southern Railroad bridge. NCDOT is waiting on federal funding to proceed with anything. Even planning. Update 2/10/10 see comments for corrections from Eric Lamb, City of Raleigh.

I remember attending a meeting several years ago about Tryon Road Part C. I’m still reviewing my references, but I seem to recall there being some conflict between RGA and the fraternity house. Since the former
Carolina Pines Hotel is a historic landmark, the stone wall is part of the historic treatment. With the widening of the road, the designs at that time called for either the wall be moved or the RGA club house to go. NCDOT held learning sessions to gather feedback on the different designs. I’m not sure what happened after that. (If anyone has references to this, please contribute them.)

I searched through my email archives and found an old project schedule dated January 2004. Yes, if you did your math correct, we were talking about this six years ago:

Here are the current schedules for all of the Tryon Road projects.

  • Tryon A (Dillard to Gorman) – Complete 4/1/04
  • Tryon B (Gorman to Lake Wheeler) – Begin April 2004, Complete by August 2005
  • Tryon C (Lake Wheeler to railroad bridge/RGA) – Begin construction sometime in 2006-2007
  • Tryon D (Dillard to Holly Springs Road) – Begin construction sometime in 2008-2009

NCDOT is looking at funding the piece from the railroad bridge back to S. Wilmington Street but have not yet committed to any funding or scheduling at this time. This project will replace the bridge, straighten out the curves, and widen it to a four-lane median section.

Update 2/10/10 see comments for corrections from Eric Lamb, City of Raleigh.

Anyone remember the road bond from 2005? This project isn’t part of the road bond referendum, but it’s a good reference to help you understand where some of the funding is going.

If we’ve learned anything from the past five to ten years, it’s that this part of Tryon isn’t happening anytime soon. But you can change that. You can help be the squeaky wheel. Start by signing the petition now.

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8 Responses to “The Garner Death Curve”

  1. avatar Chad says:

    Couldn’t agree more Jason. I just signed the petition and hope others do as well. I get extremely nervous every time I go around the “Death Curve.”

  2. avatar huff says:

    The bigger question is why have they not finished the part of Tryon rd. over by silver lake? I mean its been almost done for like two months now. All it needs is the finishing details and the top layer of asphalt, however there is no construction crew or equipment in site.

    Why, Why, because some clown at the DOT decided that all road construction had to be suspended over Christmas and the construction company could not work over the holidays.

    So what did the construction company do, just sit there and wait for the DOT to tell them they can start working again, and let their equipment sit there idle, why they could be making money elsewhere. NO WAY, so they packed up and moved there stuff to the next job.

    I bet the road sits there unfinished for a year now, orange cones and all, 90% complete. Your worried about the death curve, I’d be more worried about the INCOMPETENCE of the DOT, and pray one day that can get at least one job right!!

    and don’t get me started on the gravel road they call Avent Ferry…….

  3. avatar Eric Lamb says:

    If I can offer some minor corrections to the posts above:

    1) Regarding the bridge replacement, NCDOT has completed all of the planning for the bridge. Issues regarding the nature of the road widening relative to the historic structures have been resolved. The only missing piece at this point is funding. Unfortunately the project is not eligible for federal funds, so the only remaining hangup is finding state money to replace the bridge.

    2) Regarding the Tryon Road widening projects, NCDOT is not directly involved with the widening. All of the Tryon Road widening projects have been funded and managed exclusively by the City of Raleigh with no state or federal funding. The City is currently scheduled to complete the project in April.

    3) The City swapped the funding from the Part C project to the Part D project several years ago because Part D had double the traffic volumes that Part C had. Both projects were bottlenecks, but Part D also dovetailed with work that Cary had programmed on their part of Tryon Road. Part C has the lowest traffic volumes in the whole corridor, so it was left for last.

  4. Eric,

    Thanks for the update. This is very helpful to everyone working on this.

  5. avatar JMo says:

    huff … alot of DOT slamming in your post. Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but ALL paving stops during the winter. You can’t pave in cold weather. Google “Cold Weather Paving” and educate yourself ….. or ….. continue to spew forth ignorance.

    I’d like to see this bridge replaced soon and the curve removed. Most of the realignment has already been done by Renaissance and US 401 is a more logical termini for the Tryon widening.

  6. avatar Robert Kennel says:

    My name is Bob Kennel and I serve as the Alumni Corporation Board Chair for Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. I was our first President when we bought the old hotel in 1957 (Colonial Pines across from RGA). After considerable discussion, we were required to take the whole 60 foot setback on our property with the historic wall being moved back that 60 feet. We also wonder when something is going to happen for many obvious reasons. The Raleigh and Wake Historic folks did say that Raleigh would start planting replacement trees for the ones that will have to be cut some 2 years before the road widening. We have not heard anything more from Raleigh on that. Mr. Lamb has been helpful on info all the way through, and our understanding is that the State has to come up with money for the bridge before anything happens. My phone # is 557-0847 if anyone has questions.

  7. […] greater impact than anything we’ve seen done on the road to date.  This would remove the “Garner Death Curve” from Tryon Road completely. [Media coverage 1, 2, […]

  8. […] greater impact than anything we’ve seen done on the road to date. This would remove the “Garner Death Curve” from Tryon Road completely. [Media coverage 1, 2, […]