DOT opens 6-mile long Rolesville Bypass

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DOT opens 6-mile long Rolesville Bypass (WTVD)

The U.S. 401 Bypass in Rolesville is now open, but crews are still working to fully complete the project that has seen several delays and controversy.

After four years, part of the 6-mile long bypass opened around 5 a.m. Thursday, just in time for the morning commute.

It is slated to relieve congestion from Highway 401 in one of the fastest growing parts of Wake County, however, the north end isn't complete, so only 2 of the 4 lanes are open. It is expected to fully open in the next two weeks.

The road includes several "super street" intersections that require drivers wanting to turn left to actually turn right and make a u-turn.

Click for video on how a super street intersection works


The opening comes in the wake of a recent controversy between the state Department of Transportation and the Town of Roseville.

Following a report from the ABC11 I-Team about the lack of a traffic signal on part of the new bypass - and push back from the town's mayor - the DOT revealed last Friday that it would install a traffic light at an intersection where a stop sign was originally installed.

"They've been caught with their pants down," Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles said Thursday. "They're trying to cover their butt. We were promised full signalization. That's a signal light at corner, turn, point; and all of a sudden, I see these guys putting up a stop sign!"

The stop sign is at the end of East Young Street where the road meets the new U.S. Highway 401 Bypass.

Click here to read our previous story.

Because of the way the intersection is laid out, drivers are forced to make a right turn toward Raleigh. If they want to cross the bypass, they maneuver along the so-called 'superstreet' and make a U-turn a few hundred feet down. The design is supposed to assist traffic flow, and improve vehicular safety.

Eagles said most drivers who use the road in the mornings will keep straight, though, and head into Raleigh. And with a stop sign in their way, Eagles sees a commuting nightmare in the making.

"Does it make common sense that you've got signals everywhere else except the main exit out of Rolesville? I see it as a safety issue," said Eagles. "If it wasn't, there wouldn't be the urgency. We could just say, 'Alright, we'll get it put in when the bypass is actually completed.'"

Eagles said first responders in town (fire, police, EMS) have been equipped with a "pre-emp" device that will allow them to change the lights, as needed, with the click of a button. So, if they have to rush onto the bypass, they can change the through lights to red and enter the bypass safely and quickly. In theory, anyway.

"How does it work when you've got a stop sign," asked Eagles.

A spokesperson for the DOT originally said they would only change the stop sign to a stop light in an emergency situation and that this didn't qualify, however, said on Friday that they were taking immediate action after Eagles brought it to their attention. The light should be installed within the next few months.

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