Workers have begun building a new turn lane from westbound Glenwood Avenue into Crabtree Valley Mall in hopes of improving one of Raleigh’s worst traffic bottlenecks.
The turn lane will double the number of cars able to turn into the mall’s main entrance across from Marriott Drive during each light cycle, said mall spokesman Brian Asbill. The mall’s parking deck on Glenwood can absorb the extra cars, Asbill said, because of new lane configurations and a new ramp that improved access to the deck last fall.
“With two left turn lanes going in, we’ll be able to get more traffic onto the property,” Asbill said. “We’re able to accommodate more cars because of better flow into the deck.”
On Monday night, workers began dismantling a concrete median on Glenwood to make room for the new lane. The $300,000 project has the blessing of the state Department of Transportation, which controls Glenwood Avenue, but will be paid for by the mall.
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About 77,000 vehicles used the stretch of Glenwood Avenue between the Beltline and the mall each day in 2013, according to the most recent traffic count available from the NCDOT. Aside from the interstate highways, no other stretch of road in the city carried that much traffic.
There are a half dozen ways to turn into the mall property, including two on the back side, off Crabtree Valley Avenue and Edwards Mill Road. Mall officials encourage people who are familiar with the mall to use those less-crowded rear entrances and exits, Asbill said.
But many visitors who consult their GPS systems or cellphones for directions are guided to the main entrance on Glenwood, Asbill said, increasing the burden on the left turn lane.
Work on the new turn lane will take place at night, and should take six to eight weeks to complete.