Leaders in Wake County seeking ways to cut commute times

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – With Wake County growing by the day, local leaders are trying to find ways to alleviate increasingly lengthy commutes.

The Morrisville and Cary town councils met Monday night to get updates on upcoming construction projects aimed at improving traffic flow through both towns and cutting down on commute times to areas such as Research Triangle Park.

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Wake County is growing by 62 people on average per day, according to data provided by the county government.

“The roads haven’t quite caught up, but the amount of investment we’re making as well as the state, we’re doing a lot of things out in the west part of Cary,” said Jerry Jensen, acting director of transportation and facilities for the Town of Cary.

One of the largest projects he pointed to is the plan to complete Morrisville Parkway. It stops as it approaches NC 540 from both sides.

Work will begin early next year to construct a 1.83-mile stretch of road that will include a new interchange with NC 540.

“That interchange with the turnpike is really going to be in the heart of Cary, and that should provide a lot of immediate relief for commuters,” said Jensen.

Abhishek Pareek lives along Morrisville Parkway and has noticed his commute to Research Triangle Park get longer each year.

“If my drive is for 10 minutes, it generally takes me 30 to 35 minutes,” he said.

However, he’s concerned about increased traffic in his neighborhood.

“If that happens, definitely it will be a challenge for everyone,” he said.

The Morrisville Parkway extension is an $18 million project, which includes a combination of funding through the NCDOT, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the NC Turnpike Authority and the Town of Cary. The project includes relocating seven residences.

“It will help to get the traffic through, but it might be a little more than what we’re used to,” said Alejandra Morales.

Other upcoming projects in the area include:

  • Realigning Carpenter Road in Morrisville from NC 55 to Louis Stephens Drive. Construction will start early next year.
  • Widening Green Level Road from NC 55 to NC 540. Construction began last month.
  • Extending O’Kelly Chapel Road from Parkside Town Commons to Little Drive. Construction is due to begin and end in 2018.
  • Studying connecting McCrimmon Parkway from NC 55 to Louis Stephens Drive.
  • Widening Carpenter Fire Station Road from the NC 540 bridge at Cameron Pond to NC 55. Construction is scheduled to start in fiscal year 2019.
  • Widening Aviation Parkway and making improvements to the I-40 interchange. This work would occur west of NC54 to east of the interstate interchange. The project is funded by NCDOT. Construction is not expected to begin until 2023.

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