Toll Road Shouldn’t Impact Appeal of Living in Cary or Apex

Posted on 08/07/12 No Comments

The Triangle’s first toll road is getting longer.

Last week, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority opened a new section of the 540 Outer Loop, called the TriEx, that requires drivers to pay to use it. It’s been in the works for a number of years and based on the first few days’ traffic count, it doesn’t seem like paying the $1.01 (if you have a car-mounted transponder, 27,000 of which have been sold) is much of a deterrent.

It comes down to how much we’re willing to pay for peace-of-mind. There is no shortage of studies that show how much a stressful commute impacts our psyche, at home and in the workplace. If you’ve seen Highway 55 into Cary and Apex from Research Triangle Park each weekday morning and afternoon, you no doubt understand the legitimacy of such research. (You may even be a subject.)

Of course, the new route is not without its quirks. Apparently its sudden popularity (or commuters’ mass curiosity) hasn’t exactly eliminated the problem of heavy traffic, as thousands of cars poured into the one-lane toll road on its first day.

Highways 55 and 64 are the primary arteries into some of the Triangle’s most appealing communities in the towns of Apex and Cary. Residents of the area, as well as those considering relocating to one of these two great towns, have to consider the toll road a factor in their cost of living. However, use of the tollway is not required, nor will it impact the quality of life attainable in these areas. It could very well even improve it.

Our guess is that after a period of controversy and some lingering debate, most residents of the area will find the toll road a welcome addition to the convenience of living in Southwestern Wake County. In truth, very few areas around the country that have grown as fast and as smartly as the Triangle have been able to stave off the introduction of toll roads for this long. It was bound to happen.

Now, how about that light rail line?

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