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Long-awaited route that connects NCSU campuses is now open to traffic

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This video will help you better understand how to navigate a roundabout, plus explain the many benefits they have compared to traditional traffic signal intersections.

A new route connecting N.C. State University’s two largest campuses opened to traffic Monday morning, with the completion of the city’s Pullen Road Extension project.

The road is actually the extension of two streets — Pullen Road and Bilyeu Street — that now meet at a new roundabout about halfway between Western Boulevard and Centennial Parkway. The L-shaped route provides a direct link between NCSU’s main and Centennial campuses.

It will also eventually provide an alternative entrance to the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral and access to Overture Centennial, an apartment complex for people 55 and older being developed where Pullen and Bilyeu meet.

City and university official hope the project will help relieve congestion on Western Boulevard and Avent Ferry Road, which handle the bulk of the traffic between the two campuses.

The road is a joint project between the city, NCSU and the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. The city put up half of the $3.8 million cost, while the university and the diocese split the rest.

In addition to connecting the two campuses, the new road could eventually provide an additional access to 130 acres of undeveloped land that NCSU controls on the east side of Centennial Parkway, adjacent to Dorothea Dix Park, called the Spring Hill District.

The new roundabout where Pullen and Bilyeu meet will serve as the new entrance to Pullen Park Terrace, the 32-home neighborhood also known as Kirby-Bilyeu next to Dix Park.

The city plans to close the current entrance to the neighborhood, where Bilyeu meets Western Boulevard at a sharp angle. Eventually, the city will remove most of the asphalt, leaving a narrow path for cyclists and pedestrians as part of the Rocky Branch Greenway Trail, said Richard Dickie, a senior engineer with the city’s road design and construction office.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, #census2020. He’s been a reporter or editor for 32 years, including the last 19 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.

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