DOT gets feedback on projects before orange barrels appear on Raleigh-area highways
Posted November 16, 2017 6:36 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2017 6:46 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — State transportation officials met Thursday evening with Triangle residents to gather public input on nine area highway projects that are at various stages of the planning process.
"In the next few years, we’ve got over $1 billion of construction money coming to the Raleigh area through transportation funds," said Joey Hopkins, division engineer for the Department of Transportation's Division 5, which includes Wake County. "We’ve heard that the public, they struggle to know what’s going on. So, we’re trying a new way to kind of alert them to what we’re doing and why we’re doing it."
The projects the DOT wants feedback on are as follows:
- Widening Interstate 40 between Interstate 440/U.S. Highway 64 in Raleigh and N.C. Highway 42 in Johnston County
- I-440 interchange improvements at Wake Forest Road
- A new I-440 interchange at Ridge Road
- Widening I-440 from south of Walnut Street in Cary to north of Wade Avenue in Raleigh
- Converting U.S. Highway 1 to a freeway between Interstate 540 and north of Durant Road
- Converting U.S. Highway 70 to a freeway between west of T.W. Alexander Drive and I-540
- Improving the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Blue Ridge Road
- Widening Falls of Neuse Road between I-540 and Durant Road
- Expanding the N.C. Highway 540 toll road in southern and southeast Wake County
"The designs on anything we’re talking about ... is not set. They’re all in the preliminary stages," Hopkins said. "Usually what happens is, once you get ready to turn dirt or go to contract, that’s when we first hear from the general public. ... We want to hear from the public, but we want to hear from them in a timely manner, not when it’s too late."
The DOT plans to award contracts next summer for the I-40 and I-440 widening projects, and the latter is expected to take three to four years to complete, he said.
"Our goal with that is to maintain the lanes of traffic that are open now during the peak times," he said. "So, it wouldn’t be like the Fortify [I-40 rebuild] project where we’re taking some of the lanes away during peak travel times."