Let’s Accelerate 540, part 2 – how a new freeway will bring us together
There is an old Sammy Hagar song, “I can’t drive 55.”
He was referring to the former national 55 mph speed limit – but he could just as easily have been referring to Highway 55 in western Wake during the evening rush hour.
Fortunately, Sammy now has an option, and so do all of us: the signal-free, almost always congestion free, 540/Triangle Expressway – the most advanced turnpike in America. A vital part of our community for more than five years. Posted at 70 mph, I might add.
While I don’t know of an analogous “I can’t drive Ten-Ten, again” song, I do know the benefits that extending the Triangle Expressway across southern Wake County will provide – and so does the local community, which has continued to support the project since it was identified as a future regional freeway connection nearly two decades ago.
The 540 extension will relieve traffic congestion on local roads and streets like Ten-Ten Road, reduce travel times, create new mobility options, and provide system reliability and resilience for our growing region.
Studies show that future travel times will improve thanks to the extension of 540, with higher average speeds and lower overall vehicle hours of travel during peak periods. Travel times between places like Chatham Park, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Clayton, and more will all be greatly reduced – both during rush hour, and all day, since avoiding stoplights will now be possible.
In fact, pretty much all of southeastern Wake and beyond will see benefits, since 540 will directly interconnect with five other existing freeways, all posted at 70 mph. This will greatly improve travel options and system resilience when crashes and congestion occur, in a way that widening any number of existing signalized 45 mph roadways cannot possibly provide.
Of course, one would not need to be a traffic engineer to understand the benefits of a new, uncongested, signal-free, 70 mph freeway. A few seconds with a calculator – or traveling on the existing Triangle Expressway – will do just fine.
The result is that people will be able to get to and from the places, jobs, and activities that matter to them the most – more quickly, and more reliably, year after year.
And this means both more accessibility, and more livability, for our growing region.
So, let’s make that a reality, by continuing to support the efforts of NC Turnpike Authority, NCDOT, and their partners.
Attend the public hearing on Complete 540 this Thursday, Feb. 22, 7 pm, at Wake Tech to show your support for accelerating 540, which will help build a resilient transportation system that brings us together and moves us forward.
Let’s accelerate 540.
Joe Milazzo II, PE, Executive Director, Regional Transportation Alliance
RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation
This blog originally posted by Joe Milazzo II on LinkedIn