Skip to main content

Tour of the Triangle Expressway

On Saturday, December 10th, I took a drive to check out the newly opened NC 147 Extension and what will become on Janurary 3rd - the state's first toll road.

Of course, the entire photoset from the trip is on flickr.

066

Right before Thanksgiving, a number of us got a sneak peak at the new highway during the Expressway Trot, a 5k that went from Hopson Road to Interstate 40 and back.  Obviously, this time I was driving on it, and not running.  So let's take a look at some of the signs approaching NC 147 from I-40 and NC 147 itself.

The VMS's on I-40 in both directions announced the new highway's opening.

006

The overheads on I-40 at I-540 have been updated for the eventual extension of the Triangle Expressway and NC 540.  Some of the signs are quite gigantic.

007

The signs at NC 147 have been updated as well.  Any of the signs for the entrance to the toll road read: "NC Quick Pass" or "Bill by Mail".  Note the Exit 278 sign.  It should read "NC 55 / TO NC 54"

012

The Exit Gore on I-40 for NC 147 South read "TOLL EXIT" which I had not seen before, but I am guessing is MUTCD standard.

017

And here we are on NC 147 South TOLL.

023

This overhead is quite the size.  It's for the directional Y interchange where NC 147 meets NC 540.  Note a few things on the sign.  One NC 540 changes from East/West here (I-540 is also signed as East/West) to North/South. Also, there's space for when NC 540 becomes Toll and eventually for TO US 1 South and possibly US 64.

028

When you get to Exit 1 - you will notice ghost ramps stubs for a four lane highway.  This will one day head to Cary and meet the McKrimmon Parkway.

033

Now we're headed North on NC 540 approaching the new Exit 67 for NC 147 and the Triangle Expressway.

042

Exit 67 had previously led to Davis Drive at Kit Creek Road.  Now, Exit 67 is a high powered, free-flowing, fast moving, expressway to expressway interchange. (If I said freeway, it would be misleading since both roads will soon be tolled.)

Speaking of tolling, here's what the all electronic toll booths look like.  This is where NC 540 will transition from free to toll and vice versa.  These toll booths will remain inactive to later in 2012 when the TriEx and NC 540 is extended southwards towards Apex and eventually Holly Springs.

046

Now I am on NC 540 West/South approaching NC 147.

052

There wasn't a lot of traffic this Saturday afternoon.  It was about 12:30 when I took this photo.  It'll be interesting to see if this is what the highway will look like once the tolls begin on January 3rd.

057

An interesting oddity on NC 147, the Davis Drive/Hopson Road Interchange has a different exit number in each direction.  Southbound it is Exit 3 - and Hopson Road is the first access point.  Northbound is Exit 2 with Davis Drive it's first access point.  Here is the Exit 2 off ramp at Hopson Road.  Davis Drive traffic wanting to reach NC 147 North would also see this sign.

060

Here is an example of what the toll schedule signs look like.

064

Here's an example of the milemarkers that will be on the Triangle Expressway.  Really nothing different than what is already used.

068

One of the nicer signs on the highway is this guide sign 'END TOLL 147'/'BEGIN NC 147' combination located where NC 147 meets I-40 (Exit 5).

069

Finally, when driving for the second time down NC 147 Toll, I took a quick glimpse at where NC 147 had jogged southwest towards TW Alexander Drive.

078

I had noticed the back of the old I-40 Exits 5A-B guide sign that stood at the then beginning of NC 147.  The shot is zoomed in as the old road is fenced off.  NC 147 had ended at a stoplight at TW Alexander, which is now removed.  Here is what it looks like today.

080

I am sure it will be a matter of time until the guide sign and pavement is removed.

Overall, I like the new road.  The signs are pretty sharp and have some new changes that we're not used to seeing here in North Carolina.  I'm looking forward to seeing the NC 540 extension when it opens later in 2012.



Comments

Charlie said…
Not that I'm planning to be anywhere near the Triangle in the near future, but is NC Quick Pass E-ZPass compatible? I know Florida's SunPass isn't, but Virginia uses E-ZPass.
Bob Malme said…
Glad they kept 'my' exit numbers on 540. Too bad they didn't go with purple signs like the first maps hinted at. With all the 'toll' signage they put up, I'm surprised a small yellow banner didn't find its way on top of the mileposts.
As for compatibility with E-ZPass, not yet. The NC legislature has to pass privacy protection laws for motorists using the transponders that is identical to those in all other E-ZPass states first.
Laura said…
On Thursday at 4:30 p.m., there was the same amount of traffic that you saw on Saturday. Will definitely be interesting to see what it looks like with the toll. If it looks like that all the time, I'll happily pay cash$money to use it to bypass all the traffic on 40 from NC 147 to 540. :-)

BTW, nice writeup and good pictures!
Brian R. said…
If there's only controlled access through interchanges, it isn't misleading at all to call the TriEx a freeway, as that's how that word is defined (not whether the road carries tolls).

Popular posts from this blog

The Abandoned New Stanton Interchange Ramps

For nearly 50 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange with Interstate 70 and US 119 in New Stanton has been a rather free-flowing double trumpet, grade separated interchange between the two freeways.  But for the first 23 years of the turnpike, this interchange was vastly different.  It was the only non-trumpet interchange within the system (excluding termini points) and featured very tricky and gridlock causing left turns within the interchange.  (See image on right).  With the birth of the Interstate Highway System in the mid-1950s, new freeways were built and in many cases the Turnpike kept the original interchange using local roads to connect to the new freeways.  Interchanges with what would become I-81, I-176, I-80, I-70 in Breezewood, and I-79 were left with the original design.

Meanwhile in the 1950's, the state began building a freeway that ran from New Stanton west towards Washington.  This freeway, signed PA 71, was built to connect those in the industrial Mon Valle…

Quemahoning Tunnel

The Quemahoning Tunnel may have never been built by the Pennsylvanina Turnpike Commission, but it still has a history unto itself.  Originally planned to carry rail along the South Penn Railway, the tunnel never would not see any trains until 1909 when a small line named the Pittsburgh, Westmoreland & Somerset began utilizing it.  The use was brief and by the end of 1916 the PW&S was no longer in operation and abandoned the facility.  Twenty-some years later, the newly formed Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission considered using the abandoned tunnel, in fact it was shown on some original plans.  However, the PTC decided against using it, and the tunnel remained empty.

The eastern portal of the Quemahoning Tunnel is easily accessible from the PA Turnpike.  The portal is located at mile 106.3 along the westbound roadway.  The tunnel is one of the many "What Could Have Been's?" of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Below, Bill Symons shares photos taken in late Fall of 1986 of …

Conflict in the Mountains: The Story of Corridor H in West Virginia

Corridor H (US 48) was legislatively created as part of the 1965 Appalachian Regional Development Act.  This route which was designated to run east from Weston via Elkins to Strasburg, Virginia has been West Virginia's most controversial route of the six Appalachian Highway Development System routes that run within the state's borders.  The emotional conflict that has led to numerous legal and political struggles has placed the environment, desire for economic and social progress, and the Eastern West Virginia way of life at odds with each other for nearly four decades.

Early History:
The story of Corridor H begins in the 1930s.  Benton McKay, who orchestrated the creation of the Appalachian Trail, suggested a network of highways and parkways throughout Appalachia. (1)  That proposal would become a key part of the 1965 Appalachian Regional Development Act.  The Act included the creation of the Appalachian Development Highway System (AHDS).  The highway system consisted of "…