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DOT seeks 'balanced solution' for Highway 64 proposal

Posted July 16, 2009
Updated July 17, 2009

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— North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said they are seeking a "balanced solution" to expand a stretch of U.S. Highway 64 and address residents' concerns about the project at the same time.

Community meeting planned on U.S. 64 plan DOT seeks 'balanced solution' for Highway 64

The DOT held a community meeting at Green Hope High School in Cary on Thursday night to meet with residents. The proposals didn't sit well with many residents who live and work in the area.

"We ran a quick petition drive at one of the local grocery stores, a Kroger up on 64," said resident Russ Cobb, who opposes the plan and is part of a group called Save 64.

"So, we thought right in the heart of where this is going to occur ... let's see how many people are actually aware of it. In seven days, we came up with 2,600 people who had no idea that either the super-street or the expressway was on the books, in terms of being planned."

The 19-mile project would run from the U.S. 64 Business/U.S. 64 Bypass Interchange, east of Pittsboro in Chatham County, and extend east to the U.S. 1/U.S. Highway 64 interchange in Cary in Wake County.

The DOT is proposing a two pronged approach. The short term plan is to turn 64 into a super-street with improved timing of signal lights and restricting left turns onto the highway.

"When you pull up to a signal, you only have to look at one direction of traffic to see if traffic is coming from that way," said DOT official David Wasserman. "It spreads everything out and allows for more traffic to be moving in the general intersection area at once."

If that doesn't do the trick, a more involved plan would be implemented. Major intersections on 64, between Cary and Apex, would be turned into interchanges or bypasses.

Wasserman said he is working with Cobb's group to come to a solution.

"We're working with them. That's one of the reasons we're here today," he said. "We've mt with them several times, and we're continuing to talk with them and trying to come up with a balanced solution."

How the plan works

The two-phase plan calls for first, restricting left turns and putting in U-turns for better traffic flow over the course of five to 10 years. This would transform sections of 64 into what's called a "super-street," utilizing "Michigan left" turns.

The concept was first used in Detroit and essentially eliminates left turns at intersections. Michigan left turns instead call for drivers desiring to make a left turn to first turn right and then drive down to a make a U-turn in the median.

Department of Transportation engineers say the design is safer and avoids more costly expenses associated with widening a road.

The second phase would turn a two-mile stretch from U.S. 64/U.S. 1 in Cary to Laura Duncan Road in Apex into an elevated highway. Interstate traffic would flow on the top road, with local access on a road underneath. It would take an additional 10 to 25 years to complete.

In the long-term, officials hope to create a bicycle and pedestrian trail from west of the Haw River in Pittsboro across Jordan Lake to Apex. This trail would connect to the American Tobacco Trail.

A team of DOT staff and Apex, Cary, Wake County and Chatham County officials developed the plan, but it has no sources of funding. The DOT said a rough estimate would be about $400 million but that the cost would likely change.

While there is no money identified, now is the time for the public to influence the plans. If funding is approved for any of the short-term improvements, detailed designs will be developed and an additional public meeting will be held before any construction begins.

Check out the plans and the Question and Answer section at http://www.ncdot.gov/doh/preconstruct/tpb/SHC/studies/US64/.

26 Comments

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  • sds70 Jul 21, 2009

    I wouldn't do this project . . . Look at the Indepedance Blvd. project in Charlotte; They've been working on converting it into a expressway/freeway for over 20 years and they are no way close to being finished >:-( >:-( !!!! It has killed many of the businesses on that stretch of road since the concrete barriers went up (you can no longer make left hand turns to get to area shopping centers/restaurants). The latest section to undergo this conversion (Albermarle Road. to Idlewild Road) which was to have started in a couple of years might not get done in order to finish I-485 (MUMPO has to choose which project they want to see finished first by October). If the NCDOT starts this US 64 project, I will bet you it will never be finished !!!!!!

  • killerkestrel Jul 17, 2009

    I've driven that section a few times, and I think the DOT idea is a good one. Instead of cross traffic having to wait for a green light, they can turn right and then make a U-turn across a wide median. That keeps US-64 traffic AND cross traffic from having to wait for a green light. It would also help safety by minimizing those cross US 64 movements.

  • Road-wearier Jul 17, 2009

    64 west is becoming a morass of traffic lights and crossing traffic. First step the DOT needs to do is stop new driveway and street connections. Use frontage roads to common access points where there are overpasses - no more level crossings. If no overpasses, then use the Michigan lefts. Traffic keeps moving freely without the traffic signals and turning traffic. Michigan lefts work and they work well.

    But an elevated road? That's crazy talk. Expensive as stink and ugly as homemade sin. Control the access to the road, tell the developers to literally build a bridge and get over it, and the elevated nonsense won't be needed.

  • SME2 Jul 17, 2009

    May be Cary could use the money to put up more stop lights...I think there was a intersection with a fatality the other day.

  • determined2win Jul 17, 2009

    Two words:

    TOLL ROAD

  • determined2win Jul 17, 2009

    Get ready Boys & Girls! Witness another DOT fiasco at its inception... See thrills in the construction delays, spills in the deadwood private contractors standing around leaning on shovels at the project site, chills in the taxpayers getting shafted as the contractor comes back after winning lowest bid and says "We need more money to complete the project", and all the excitement, finger-pointing & negative press that this will bring in years to come as this spending spree gathers speed like a boulder rolling down a hill -

    Can we at least have Trafgar watching over the site?

  • twc Jul 17, 2009

    What DOT needs to seek is competent employees! Anything they decide should be reviewed by an outside source; a second opinion!

  • working for deadbeats Jul 17, 2009

    If you just have to do it, try doing it right the first time. Remember the I-40 boondoggle?

  • walkshome1234 Jul 17, 2009

    follow the money on this one.

  • rushbot Jul 17, 2009

    Balanced. You know, like FOX news!

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