NC DOT offers alternative to Chapel Hill crush

Posted November 26, 2013

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is looking into the installation of ramp meters, which are signals along interstate ramps that control merging traffic.

The holiday week is expected to bring increased traffic on already-busy roadways, especially the stretch of Interstate 40 westbound near Chapel Hill. 

The interstate goes down to two lanes west of exit 270 (U.S. 15/501), and in recent years that area has seen the pre-Thanksgiving backup stretch as long as eight miles, all the way to Exit 278 (N.C. Highway 55). The DOT warned drivers to expect "major congestion" Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For those headed west as far as Hillsborough and beyond, the DOT recommends a detour westbound on the Durham Freeway (N.C. Highway 147, at Exit 279) to Interstate 85 West and back to I-40.

A DOT spokesman advised that holiday travelers, no matter their destination, allow more time than they do during a non-holiday period. 

Law enforcement officers will be out in force as part of the annual Thanksgiving “Click It or Ticket” campaign, stepping up efforts through Sunday, Dec. 1, to enforce the state’s seat belt law.

The N.C. Highway Patrol plans to have at least one trooper on duty for each 20 miles of I-40's 421 miles across the state, part of a nationwide "I-40 Challenge." 

North Carolina, which saw steady rain throughout the day Tuesday, was not expected to see the weather-related hassles caused elsewhere by a winter weather system that brought snow to some areas further north. 


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  • donewithecu Nov 26, 2013

    Hey people!! Don't give out the other routes we other people have found to avoid all those bottlenecks! It will cost more travel time. I know you use these roads keep them secret from all others. Let them find it themselves.

  • Capt Mercury Nov 26, 2013

    So when is the DOT going to do something about this stupid narrowing of I-40 from Chapel Hill to the I-40/85 merge?
    It's been over 20 years already since they made this mess!

  • jonstewartrules Nov 26, 2013

    reduce all roads to a single lane. Once people decide it's better to try and stay off the roads rather than make seventeen trips a day, maybe things will get better. You'll at least think twice before hopping in your car. And maybe carpool occassionally. Or take public transportation. Less road maintenance and our taxes wasted. Less construction costs to begin with. We're too busy accommodating the lazy in society who feel it's a right to drive at the expense of everything else. And then they complain about the cost of gas. Entitlement crowd.

  • GOPtakersSociety Nov 26, 2013

    actually, take 64 west....nice scenic drive and hop on 85 just after Ashboro

  • turkeydance Nov 26, 2013

    if you have the time, check out this study: down to Merging-lane Traffic Jams, A Simple Cure.

  • geoherb1 Nov 26, 2013

    The problem is two-fold. First, too many regular drivers who know that the left lane ends right after 15-501 stay in that lane until the last minute. Second, drivers who don't know that the left lane ends there don't have adequate warning. A sign before the 15-501 exit would help. Couple those two types of drivers with the steep grade right afterward that many trucks can't manage without a huge decrease in speed and you get the bottleneck.

  • taskmaster27858 Nov 26, 2013

    If you going to Charlotte take US1 to 15-501 then to 24-27 towards Albemarle its a nice scenic rounte and not that long, better then taking 85 around all that construction work area around Charlotte.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 26, 2013

    Typo: Latent Demand negates benefits *of* highway expansion.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 26, 2013

    Latent Demand negates benefits or highway expansion.

    " a highway expands to allow the same number of drivers through faster, other drivers -- who previously avoided the highway because it was such a hassle -- will choose to join other highway drivers. Soon, enough new drivers join the previous drivers each day, negating any beneficial effect from the expansion."

    So, nevermind actually addressing the overpopulation and growth issues. Because YOU might get through faster for a while and that's all that matters, right?

  • AliceBToklas Nov 26, 2013

    Widening of I-40 from 15-501 to I-85 is scheduled to be finished by 2019. The project cost will be $90 million.

    And not a minute too soon. I never understood why the widening stopped at 15-501 in the first place. The result was inevitable.