More projects on tap with NC road-building plan
Posted December 4, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina's first transportation funding plan using new standards promises spending on about 500 additional projects for the next decade, many of which would have otherwise been delayed.
State Transportation Secretary Tony Tata and Gov. Pat McCrory released the draft State Transportation Improvement Program during a Thursday morning meeting of the State Board of Transportation.
It proposes spending $15 billion on road construction, aviation and public transit projects through 2025.
"I'm pleased that the transportation law and vision, which is based on economic development, safety and congestion in stead of politics is working as intended and exceeding our expectations," McCrory said in a statement.
Over half of nearly 1,100 projects on the program list were scored under a new "strategic mobility formula" the legislature approved in 2013. The formula concentrates more on easing congestion and jump-starting regional economies while also giving weight to the desires of local officials. Other projects making the list largely include bridges, interstate maintenance and projects with contracts that already were expected to go out for bid before next July.
McCrory told board members the new funding priority method aims to relieve highway corridor "choke points" between economic centers that slows traffic and discourages out-of-state companies from wanting to relocate in both urban and rural areas.
Major proposals include making U.S. Highway 1 a limited-access highway north of Interstate 540 through Wake Forest and into Franklin County and adding a toll or express lane on Interstate 40 from the U.S. 1/64 interchange in Cary to U.S. Highway 15/501 in Chapel Hill.
Other area Department of Transportation projects include:
- Widen Wade Avenue to six lanes near Interstate 440
- Make interchange improvements on Wake Forest Road
- Complete N.C. Highway 540 in southern Wake County
- Widen Ten-Ten Road between Apex Peakway and Kildaire Farm Road
- Add lanes to Falls of Neuse Road between Interstate 540 and Durant Road
- Replace Bahama Road’s bridge over Dial Creek
- Replace the Kemp Road bridge that carries traffic over Lick Creek
- Replace the U.S. 15/501 bridge over Cornwallis Road for traffic running north
- Upgrade more than 9 miles of N.C. Highway 54 from U.S. 15/501 in Chapel Hill to N.C. Highway 55 in Durham
- Construct a roundabout at the intersection of Hope Valley Road and University Drive
- Widen and modernize Alston Avenue from N.C. Highway 147 to Holloway Street, including adding bike lanes and turn lanes over a mile stretch of road
- Build sidewalks at various locations throughout the city
- Widen Interstate 85 in Orange County to N.C. Highway 147 to six lanes
- Rehabilitate pavement on 6 miles of N.C. highway 86 to Erwin Road
- Roundabout construction on Estes Drive in Carrboro
- Install bus shelters at selected locations in Carrboro
- Replace bridge No. 46 over Eno River
- Extend the Interstate 295 loop from Bragg Boulevard to Interstate 95
- Widen Ramsey Street from U.S. Highway 401 Business to I-295
- Widen Murchison Road from I-295 to south of U.S. 401 Bypass and from I-295 north to N.C. Highway 24/87/210 in Spring Lake.
- Build Spring Lake Bypass from N.C. 210 to N.C. 87
- Replace various bridges over the Cape Fear River, the South River and Cross Creek.
Other projects on the list include the Mid-Currituck Bridge along the northern Outer Banks. The state also would construct more quickly Winston-Salem's Northern Beltway and widen Interstate 26 south of Asheville.
Tata said the new formula would generate 478 highway projects, compared with 175 laid out under the program list in 2013 and 260 projects initially predicted from the new law. Economic models also estimate the projects in the draft plan would create 300,000 jobs beyond the actual construction, compared with 174,000 under the 2013 draft plan.
While the program now has $200 million more earmarked annually, Tata said more projects are being added because the state is becoming more efficient with its road building funds.
"This puts money on the street, where the needs are, right away," he said.
DOT officials will hold a public comment period and public meetings on the proposals in March and April to get feedback.