Toll road set to open to east Highway 55 congestion in Apex

Posted on 12/18/12 No Comments

Growth is never easy to hide, especially when highlighted by a toll road.

Even though tolls will not be charged until after the start of 2013, the third leg of the Triangle Expressway, or TriEx, is set to open this Thursday to decrease the commuting plaque clogging one of our busiest traffic arteries.

Highway 55 runs (well, walks) residents to Apex and Holly Springs from Research Triangle Park and back, our region’s most popular workplace. The good news is you don’t have to use it; but everyone hopes that enough people will to spread out the number of cars between the two routes.

Toll roads are new to the Triangle, which has long since managed its growth in ways that didn’t put such an overt mark on its residents’ monthly budget. Still, toll roads also seem to be the mark of a growing community, a sign that the future remains entrenched in how our civic leaders address growth. Furthermore, toll roads are often a precursor to larger regional transportation efforts, like trains.

This new section will complete an almost 20-mile tollway between Holly Springs and RTP that cost taxpayers just over $1 billion. If you plan to use it, there’s no question that the NC Quick Pass is the best option because it will save users $1.40/trip to run the entire length of  the TriEx. Executives in charge of the project estimate a time savings of 20 minutes compared to using Hwy. 55 during the hight of rush hour. Of course, we don’t know anyone willing to prove it.

So come this Thursday, 12/20, the Triangle will have its first complete toll road. Kind of a community benchmark, we suppose. There are pros and cons to be sure. However, the cons won’t do much to sway those who love living in Raleigh, Cary and Apex — they’re still great towns with tons of convenience, good jobs and affordable housing. Let’s just chalk it up to growing pains.

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