RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – If you’re tired of sitting in traffic on your way to and from work every day, you may soon be able to bike alongside one of the Triangle’s busiest highways.
The Triangle Bikeway would create a cycling path next to a portion of Interstate-40, allowing cyclists in the area a safe bike ride to work.
“What we’re missing is a way to get from city to city,” said cyclist Natalie Lew.
“The I-40 corridor has always been one of those areas that was a missing link in allowing people to traverse I-40 east to west,” said fellow cyclist Dave Anderson.
Lew and Anderson have biked all around the Triangle for work and play. They say the creation of a safe path running parallel to I-40 would open up a lot of routes for cyclists.
“That tends to be one of the big limiting factors, is fear of finding a safe route,” said Anderson.
Wake County Commission Chairman Sig Hutchinson is also a cyclist and the driving force behind the Triangle Bikeway.
“This is going to turn the worst part of your day, sitting on I-40 in traffic, to the best part of your day – riding by Umstead State Park on a bicycle,” said Hutchinson.
The bikeway would follow along the side of a five-mile stretch of I-40 and would be set back a little ways from the road.
It would also find a way to bypass overpasses and interchanges.
“I’d like to see us like bore straight through, so someone could get on their bike and from Trenton Road all the way to Airport Boulevard straight through,” said Hutchinson.
The path would then connect with existing greenways.
Hutchinson says the project would be eligible for money from CAMPO-Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization-as long as it ranks high enough on the organization’s to-do list.
“The fact that this has cross-jurisdictional connectivity and a corridor that could reduce congestion on I-40, could really have a significant impact in terms of a higher score,” said Hutchinson.
There’s no timeline yet on when we could see it happen, but multiple organizations and localities are considering what the Triangle Bikeway could do for them.
“Not only do we want connectivity into an area where we work, but we also want connectivity into the area where we play,” said Lew.
The land needed for the path belongs to William B. Umstead State Park and the RDU Airport Authority. Hutchinson says similar projects across the country cost about $1 million per mile of path.
Creating tunnels through exchanges and overpasses would add expense.