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Towerview work to create circle, plaza

Like many students, Towerview Road is in the midst of its summer makeover.

When students return for the fall semester, they will be greeted with a new brick plaza on Towerview between Crowell Quadrangle and the Card Gymnasium parking lot and a traffic circle at the intersection of Towerview and Wannamaker Drive.

The University may also start work on the intersection of Towerview and Duke University Road later this summer, depending on the timeline for the city's final approval of the project. With city permission, drivers could see a traffic light at Towerview and Duke University Road in the fall.

Executive Vice President Tallman Trask said work on Towerview is intended to create a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere and to slow vehicular traffic through that part of campus.

"We have to explain to people that there is no God-given right to drive through Duke University at whatever speed you want, at whatever time of day," Trask said.

Workers are currently tending to the first phase of the project, which includes repairing and leveling the road. Glenn Reynolds, manager of projects and engineering, said the University is still finalizing plans for landscaping and lighting, which will be added once Towerview has been repaved and the decorative brickwork added.

When completed, the brick plaza will extend about 10 feet behind the curb on both sides of Towerview, trimming a few spots from the Card Gym parking lot. The crosswalks between Duke University Road and Union Drive will also be redone.

"[The project] should tie the area together, rather than having just a bland parking-lot look," Reynolds said. "We wanted to upgrade, to make this more of a real boulevard on a college campus with a more uniform and appealing architectural feel to it."

Reynolds said Towerview, which is intended to serve as a prototype for future roads on campus, should be reopened for traffic by mid-August.

Once the city gives the go-ahead, work on the Towerview and Duke University Road intersection should take two to three months to complete.

"We've been talking to the city on and off for the last three or four years about getting a light there to improve safety," Reynolds said. "It will be less dangerous, especially in the spring and summer when the leaves are all out and you have to inch out to peek and take a chance with the traffic."

He added that the University's plans for the intersection should help smooth out traffic flow, both for routine commuter traffic and for high-traffic events such as football and basketball games and commencement ceremonies. In addition to putting up a traffic signal, the University plans to add turn lanes on both Duke University Road and Towerview.

"If you've ever tried to turn out onto [Duke] University Road around 3 or 4 p.m., you know it's congested and the road is too narrow," Reynolds said. "With the traffic light, everything will be controlled and you won't have to wait forever to turn."

Trask said there are some preliminary plans to extend Towerview further south for better access to parking lots on the other side of Duke University Road.


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