Morrisville Parkway extension has opened, but the NC 540 interchange will take longer

A gap in Morrisville Parkway was filled late Monday when a new section of the road opened between N.C. 55 and Green Level Church Road in western Cary.

The new stretch of Morrisville Parkway crosses N.C. 540, the Triangle Expressway. Roundabouts on both ends of the bridge mark where drivers will be able to get on an off the highway when a long-planned interchange opens there.

But that won’t happen until next spring, according to Logen Hodges, spokesman for the N.C. Turnpike Authority. The tolling equipment that allows the authority to read transponders and license plates on cars and trucks without transponders still must be installed and tested before the interchange will be ready to open, Hodges said.

Tolling equipment like this must be installed at the new Triangle Expressway interchange at Morrisville Parkway before it can open next spring. Travis Long N&O file photo

The bridge that carries the parkway over N.C. 540 was built before the toll road opened in 2013, anticipating the day when the parkway would be extended. It’s a two-lane bridge, so the section of the parkway between Green Level Church Road and N.C. 55 is also mostly two lanes wide, in contrast to four-lane segments of the parkway in Cary and Morrisville.

The new interchange is a joint project between the Turnpike Authority, the state Department of Transportation and the Town of Cary, which pitched in on designs and environmental studies.

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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,