Drivers upset over exit closure

June 7, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
Just three years after it was built, a busy exit off I-540 in Wake County is closed.Now, many people who've been using the Davis Drive exit are fired up and wonder why it's been shut down. But the fact is the interchange has always been part of a bigger plan. In fact, it was never meant to be an exit to Davis Drive and now that the master plan is coming together, the Davis Drive exit has been shut down permanently.

"I live in a subdivision right off Davis Drive and having I-540 and that exit closed makes it really inconvenient," resident Devyani Ghosh said. "It's aggravating, the time it took to open it and then all of a sudden they closed it, it's kind of frustrating and we don't know why."

Shannon Sweitzer is the director of construction for the NC Department of Transportation and says the Davis Drive exit was never meant to be.

"You have to realize that the Department of Transportation works very hard to build not only for today, but for the future," he said.

Sweitzer says all the pavement, the overflies and the exit itself were only built to someday extend NC-147 from I-40 down to I-540, and someday is here.

"To add value to that area, the NC DOT utilized some of that facility to provide temporary access to Davis Drive and so it was only temporary, it was always considered a temporary measure to provide access to Research Triangle Park," Sweitzer said.

But many are wondering why officials wouldn't just wait until the end of the project to close Davis Drive, but Sweitzer says it's because part of the project involves reconnecting Kit Creek Road. If the DOT had left the exit open, Sweitzer says it would have been more expensive and taken more time to complete.

He says, as is, the project should take another 18 months.

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