Local News

Proposed bike lanes along I-40 could reduce congestion, boost economy

Posted October 10, 2017 5:55 p.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2017 6:22 p.m. EDT

— The evening commute on Interstate 40 in Raleigh is often a sea of brake lights. Soon, commuters may be able to navigate the stretch of interstate by bike.

"This provides recreational opportunities, it protects the environment, it reduces congestion, and it promotes economic development and a healthy community," said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Sig Hutchinson.

Proposed bike lanes would run from Trenton Road in west Raleigh to Airport Boulevard.

Hutchinson calls the proposal transformational for the area. A similar bikeway in Colorado has earned high praise, and Hutchinson said he believes it would have the same effect here.

"We need more transportational options," he said.

Chris Snow, Wake County's director of parks and recreation, said the 7- to 9-mile bikeway would cost about $1 million a mile.

"It would be an expensive trail," Snow said. "We have to figure out how to get through or around entities."

Some of that cost involves purchasing or leasing land from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport as well as the state.

"It would be a conversation with them about how we can get through their property or around their property to make a connection," Snow said.

Eighty percent of the project would likely be covered by state transportation funds. Wake County would fund the rest.

Hutchinson thinks it’s worth it.

"When people are sitting on the I-40 parking lot at 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. and you're seeing cyclists flying by you at close to 20 mph, I promise you they'll lose it," Hutchinson said.

Commissioners plan to talk about funding options next week. There is currently no timetable for theproject.