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RALNATIVE

Raleigh-Norfolk Corridor

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http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2015/07/10/us-bill-to-create-raleigh-norfolk-corridor-support.html

 

I had previously heard chatter about this possible interstate, but now I think that it is being seriously considered and warrants discussion. I'd still like to better understand the benefits of an improved route to the Hampton Roads area before buying into this idea. I'm thinking that Raleigh has the most to gain from such a corridor.

 

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Just the renaming of a road, nothing more...

 

Ok Debbie Downer, we get your point, but there's actually more potential with this effort than just a name change. The designation of this segment as an interstate is actually expected to spur commerce and improve the economies in some much needed areas.

Edited by RALNATIVE

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NCDOT wants to see I-495 applied to US 64 between Raleigh and Rocky Mount, although the old part of the road between Wendell and Rocky Mount will have to be upgraded first. At present it's signed Future I-495. I suppose I-495 could be extended to Norfolk -- or perhaps they would seek something like I-42 or I-38, neither of which is in use elsewhere. But let's get back to reality, shall we? The segment of US 64 between Rocky Mount and Williamston is relatively young and would require fewer upgrades, if any, to be Interstate-classifiable. Beyond Williamston, though, you're looking at serious money to attain Interstate status all the way.

 

People in Lee County are probably still angry that they didn't obtain an Interstate classification on top of US 1 between Cary and Sanford after the road was widened. 

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http://www.letsgetmoving.org/priorities/interstate-495-future-i-44-or-i-50/

  

The RTA is pushing for I-44 or I-50.  I-495 would terminate at I-95 in Rocky Mount and then continue east as 44 or 50.  Although the designation of 495 seems odd to me as I would expect a spur to start with an odd number.

Edited by Captain Awesome

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If they're only looking to four the stretch from Rocky Mount to Norfolk, very few places are only single lane, I'm thinking the Williamston-Windsor area.

To be honest, you'd save alot more time from Raleigh to Norfolk by coming up 95 and four laning a stretch from around Halifax to Murfreesboro. US 158 from Murfreesboro to the Va line on 13 is being four-laned now.

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 At present it's signed Future I-495. I suppose I-495 could be extended to Norfolk -- or perhaps they would seek something like I-42 or I-38, neither of which is in use elsewhere.

I noticed last night that signs were already up naming this stretch 495, and lights have also been installed along the beltline stretch from Poole Rd to the 495 interchange.

 

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Another route for moving military equipment/personnel. 

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Yes it's four-laned but from Windsor on, it's not limited access -- and that's where big the money comes in. If you want it signed I-50 or I-495 or whatever, you need limited access. The AASHTO committee might let NCDOT sign it "Future" absent limited access, but I wouldn't count on it.

As far as I know, the only official I-495 signage (without the "Future") is the short segment between I-440 and I-540. East of I-540, isn't it still 100% "Future"?

 

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As far as I know, the only official I-495 signage (without the "Future") is the short segment between I-440 and I-540. East of I-540, isn't it still 100% "Future"?

 

I was on New Hope Rd entering the freeway and the 495 signs were already up at this exit.

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In an era of scarce resources, transportation investments, IMO, should be directed to areas with the greatest transportation needs.  This smacks of the alternate philosophy of treating transportation investments as economic development tools.  There are much more targeted and effective ways to direct economic development money to depressed areas than building transportation white elephants.

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Just the renaming of a road, nothing more...

 

Ok Debbie Downer, we get your point, but there's actually more potential with this effort than just a name change. The designation of this segment as an interstate is actually expected to spur commerce and improve the economies in some much needed areas.

I don't think "we have an Interstate" is much of an economic incentive anymore. With the data-driven processes (think network routing and GIS) that go into site selection analyses and managing the logistics of shipping, receiving, distribution, etc., the bean counters aren't going to care if a highway has an Interstate shield and paved shoulders or not.

Is there even that much commerce between Raleigh and Norfolk/Hampton Roads? It seems like Raleigh is pretty well connected to closer markets by I-40, I-85, and I-95. The only benefit I can think of is access to the larger port.

Yes it's four-laned but from Windsor on, it's not limited access -- and that's where big the money comes in. If you want it signed I-50 or I-495 or whatever, you need limited access. The AASHTO committee might let NCDOT sign it "Future" absent limited access, but I wouldn't count on it.

As far as I know, the only official I-495 signage (without the "Future") is the short segment between I-440 and I-540. East of I-540, isn't it still 100% "Future"?

 

It looks like there are already a few segments that do have full control of access: a short segment north of Windsor, from the Chowan River to past Edenton, and the Elizabeth City bypass. It also looks like speed limits are 55 mph most of the way, with 70 on the bypasses. I don't think you'd see a signifcant time savings.

Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) in 2013 was 10,000 cars or less from Windsor to Edenton, and 10,000-19,000 closer to Edenton. Yes, it'd be nice to save 30 minutes of driving, but I don't see much of a return on investment or sudden economic boon.

In an era of scarce resources, transportation investments, IMO, should be directed to areas with the greatest transportation needs.  This smacks of the alternate philosophy of treating transportation investments as economic development tools.  There are much more targeted and effective ways to direct economic development money to depressed areas than building transportation white elephants.

We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade to Interstate highway standards. Probably over a billion for that many miles requiring grade separation and right-of-way acquisition. I'll give you a cheaper example. Polk and Rutherford counties in western NC want to see US 74 upgraded to Interstate standards east of I-26. It's already a divided highway with full control of access and a 70 mph speed limit, it just lacks the wide paved shoulders. Estimated cost: $62,000,000 for 30 miles, just to say "WE HAVE AN INTERSTATE!" Absolutely pointless and wasteful.

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Conventional wisdom changes slowly, and conventional wisdom says that interstates do matter -- thus the push from Sanford to slap an interstate designation on US 1 and also the push to extend I-20 from Florence, S.C. to Wilmington. Partly this is irrational pride and envy. Despite improvements in GPS, routing, etc, many businesses (not all) are still under pressure for just-in-time deliveries of materials in and just-in-time deliveries of finished goods out. Four-lane highways with uncontrolled access can work if there bypasses around the towns. Seems like we have that already in northeastern NC. You'd hope so, given the amount of road-building money that NCDOT took out of the urban areas over the last 25 years. The experience of Corridor Z in south Georgia and the port of Brunswick has been stellar, and Corridor Z is less than 5% limited access. If the loads are hazmat, though, there might be strong interest in limited access roads.

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As a Virginia resident this is an interesting proposal.  Right now Hampton Roads is a cul-de-sac with I-64.  I always suspected 58 would be turned into an interstate one day but obviously the point of this proposal is to spur economic development in North Carolina.  On our side though 168 is already built like an interstate and goes to the state line.  I can't see investing all that money in converting the VA side of the 17 corridor.  Also I'm not sure how convenient this would be for traveling all the way to Raleigh, it's only a 3 hour 191 mile drive now using 58 and 95.

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Interstates do add a certain level of visibility to cities and offer an important connection between cities, however I'm not entirely sure how connected the economies of Raleigh and Hampton Roads are. The travel time between the two areas can be improved or maintained by limiting development along the corridor and improving key interchanges. According to Google, the fastest routes are I-495 to I-95 to US 58 or I-495/US 64 to NC 11 to NC 42 to NC 11 to US 13. Both routes take you to Suffolk VA and differ by only a few minutes.  It takes 30 minutes longer to travel through Elizabeth City.

I don't much benefit to add an interstate in the northeast part of the state. Interstate 495 should have been Interstate 395 unless there are plans to make it a loop by signing it over US 1 or US 401 south from Raleigh to connect to I-95 in Fayetteville or even further south. There are probably other things the state and the federal government could use that money for.

 

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The route through Williamston and Elizabeth City is so out-of-the-way as a route to Hampton Roads that even if it were full limited access and wall-to-wall 70mph, it would offer limited or no time savings over the I-495 -> I-95 -> US 58 route. That route is 20 miles shorter. Though the idea of a way to get to Hampton Roads without ever getting on I-95 is appealing, but on the whole, the money spent by NC on upgrading US17 would be better spent on upgrading I-95 instead.

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Rules for numbering three-digit interstates have changed. If an interstate starts and ends at an interstate, it gets an even first digit. I-285 and I-885 in North Carolina will follow that logic 

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Reverb from the 1970s argument over extending I-40 east of Raleigh to Wilmington versus Morehead City. Wilmington won, and people along US 70 have been hacked off ever since.

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