By Jason Hibbets
The City of Raleigh announced last month that it has authorized an agreement with NCDOT for the final widening phase of Tryon Road from Lake Wheeler Road to South Saunders Street. This is the stretch of Tryon Road near the RGA golf course and the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, east, to South Saunders Street near the Renaissance Park neighbohood. The project comes at a time when the I-40 Fortify Raleigh project could have major traffic impacts in Southwest Raleigh.
SouthwestRaleigh.com has been following this story for a while, patiently waiting for funding and priorities to make their way through the process. We got a chance to catch up with Eric Lamb, from the City of Raleigh Transportation Planning office and Dennis Jernigan, from the NCDOT Division 5 Office to ask a few questions about this project.
The announcement states that “it is anticipated that NCDOT will begin construction of this project in spring.” Is that spring 2014, as in, just a few weeks from now?
Dennis: Until this week I would have said yes. However, based on impacts from right of way acquisition the start of the project is being delayed as of this week. The latest information we have, shows that the earliest construction could begin is August, but that will be evaluated in late March.
What kind of construction timeline can motorists anticipate?
Eric: Typically a bridge replacement project takes around two years.
Dennis: That’s actually the most complex part of this work. I agree for a typical project of this size and scope; however, the actual contract time has not yet been determined.
Replacing the bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad corridor seems like a big part of the project. Can motorist expect continuous traffic flow or could there be detours put in place?
Eric: I believe the plan is to construct the first portion of the new bridge parallel to the existing bridge, and then shift traffic.
Dennis: Eric is correct. There are no planned detours because of the bridge construction. The bridge is being constructed in phases so traffic can be maintained throughout construction. There may be some short-term impacts to traffic when the new bridge is put into service. There will be one to two weekends where detours will be in place for the installation of water lines across Tryon Road.
What happens to the “Garner Death Curve” after this project is complete?
Eric: It was accounted for as one of the last phases of Renaissance Park. The street gets re-purposed as a low-volume, lower-speed internal street for the development.
Will widening of this section of Tryon Road provide any relief to the Fortify Project?
Eric: Probably not. Construction should start in a few weeks/months and will take a couple of years to complete. It’s schedule will likely parallel the Fortify work for the most part.
Raleigh Joins NCDOT for Tryon Road Widening Agreement
The Raleigh City Council has authorized an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for proposed improvements along Tryon Road from Par Drive to South Wilmington Street. The City’s contribution to this project was funded with proceeds from the 2011 Transportation Bond. The total estimated cost of the project is approximately $7.1 million. The City’s share of the project’s cost is $1.8 million. The improvements along the approximately 1.1-mile stretch of road include replacing the bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad corridor, realigning Tryon Road through the Renaissance Park development, and widening existing portions to four lanes. It is anticipated that NCDOT will begin construction of this project in spring.
Source: City of Raleigh
Correction: A previous version of this post stated that the City of Raleigh had finalized funding for the widening project, which was a misinterpretation by me. The City and NCDOT have only come to an agreement and funding still needs to be allocated for portions of the project.