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.
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
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.