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Plans to widen Aviation Parkway would also end left turns at a busy intersection

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s plans for widening Aviation Parkway include two options for loop roads that would eliminate left turns at the intersection with N.C. 54. Drivers wishing to make a left turn would use the loop road.
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s plans for widening Aviation Parkway include two options for loop roads that would eliminate left turns at the intersection with N.C. 54. Drivers wishing to make a left turn would use the loop road. NCDOT

Aviation Parkway, the two-lane road that runs between Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the heart of Morrisville, has been widened in spots over the years, but mostly with turn lanes.

Now the N.C. Department of Transportation is poised to present its plans for widening the parkway to four continuous lanes between Interstate 40 and N.C. 54. The public will get a chance to see the plans and ask questions and provide feedback at an open house on Wednesday evening.

For much of this stretch, NCDOT plans to separate the two sides of the road with a grassy median, with a five-foot-wide sidewalk on one side and a 10-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian path on the other. Where Aviation Parkway crosses Lake Crabtree, however, the median will become narrower, replaced by wider paved shoulders, and there will be a multi-use path on only one side of the road.

The plan also calls for eliminating direct left turns at the intersection of Aviation Parkway and N.C. 54. Drivers wishing to turn left onto either road would use a new loop road that would be built in either the northwest or northeast corner of the intersection.

NCDOT is still undecided about which loop road makes the most sense, said project manager April Annis, and the final decision may rest on what the department hears from residents Wednesday night and in online comments.

“We need to know what the public thinks,” Annis said.

NCDOT expects to spend $28.8 million to widen the 2.2-mile stretch of road. Construction isn’t scheduled to begin until summer 2023, though the state plans to begin buying property it needs next summer.

The open house will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at Morrisville Town Hall, 100 Town Hall Drive. There will be no formal presentation, and people are free to come and go as they wish.

For more information or to make comments online, go to publicinput.com/aviationparkway.

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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 20 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.
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