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RaleighHeelsfan

Raleigh<->Charlotte Direct Freeway?

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Why would the state connect wilmington to Charlotte anytime soon? They have yet to connect Raleigh to Charlotte!!! I have to go to Charlotte from Raleigh all the time and I am sick and tired of I40 to Greensboro!!! Once we get to Greensboro we have to drive south through the entire state, it makes no sense at all! In the meantime, the DOT just appoved the expansion of Hwy 70 in eastern North Carolina. How is that stretch of road more important than a new highway from Raleigh to Charlotte? How about all the new Highways the state has built through Wilson County (117, 264) in the last few years? IMO, highways should be built from Raleigh to Charlotte, and Wilmington to Charlotte. I have never even heard of plans for either one of those two projects. Whats the deal with that? Both are very needed, way more so than anything in eastern north carolina. I think we need new interstates b/n Raleigh/Charlotte and Wilmington, and high speed rail. :wacko:

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That's quite a wishlist...

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It takes nearly 4 hours to get to Charlotte from Raleigh. It should only take two hours if there was a road that went straight there.

It takes me around 4 and a half hours to get to DC, only 4 hours late at night

I would say there is a problem!

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It takes nearly 4 hours to get to Charlotte from Raleigh. It should only take two hours if there was a road that went straight there.

It takes me around 4 and a half hours to get to DC, only 4 hours late at night

I would say there is a problem!

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I'm gonna disagree with you on that one.

The only reason that a Raleigh<->Charlotte trip could possibly take 4 hours is due to construction and traffic. Avoid rush hour and it takes significantly less than 3 hours. Speed a bit (go with the flow of traffic) and you're there in two and a half. How many hundreds of millions (billions?) of dollars do you propose to spend, and how many tens of thousands of acres of wetland do you propose to pave over just to cut 30 minutes off the Raleigh-Charlotte trip time? Is your time really that important to you?

10 years after this direct route is built, the suburban sprawl it induces will give it the same rush-hour traffic problems as I-40/I-85 anyway, so exactly what is gained in the long run? It doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe it'll be worth it 30 years down the road, but right now there are MUCH more economical ways to improve Raleigh-Charlotte travel than that.

Namely: more train service! Spend 50 million on new sidings and double track, and you could run five daily Piedmonts instead of just one. NCDOT has plenty of rolling stock to do it. Then, spend another 20 million straightening curves and building grade separations - and get the trip time down to a reliable 2 hours 50 minutes.

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I'm not sure that I agree with either one of you in some respects. The drive from Raleigh out 64 to Asheboro and hang and left on 49 to Concord takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach Concord. It's a beautiful drive too I might add. Depending on where you need to get to in Charlotte, the trip should not take more than 2:45. This was leaving at rush hour too. I took it every weekend for a year.

I see no need for another route to Charlotte from the two that we already have. The Greensboro bypass on I-85 is awesome and helps alot.

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I'm not sure that I agree with either one of you in some respects.  The drive from Raleigh out 64 to Asheboro and hang and left on 49 to Concord takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach Concord.  It's a beautiful drive too I might add.  Depending on where you need to get to in Charlotte, the trip should not take more than 2:45.  This was leaving at rush hour too.  I took it every weekend for a year.

I see no need for another route to Charlotte from the two that we already have.  The Greensboro bypass on I-85 is awesome and helps alot.

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Both of u are wrong! I drive to Charlotte all the time. Yes, it's because of the traffic it takes that long. Thats my point! If they build a new highway going to charlotte and it was a straight shot, it would take off more than 30 minutes. The speed limit would be 70...of course you would go 80. It would then only take 2 hours, with none of the traffic headaches of I-40.

About 64, yes its a nice drive. But it should not take 2 hours and 45 minutes from Raleigh. We need a road linking NC's two largest cites, thats a straight shot. If the DOT built this new road of course development should not be allowed along the new road. Again, I'm comparing this to all the new highways they are building in eastern NC. Eastern NC does not need them. One is needed from Raleigh to Charlotte though. I get stressed driving in I-40 traffic. I am tired of it.

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I'm gonna disagree with you on that one.

The only reason that a Raleigh<->Charlotte trip could possibly take 4 hours is due to construction and traffic. Avoid rush hour and it takes significantly less than 3 hours. Speed a bit (go with the flow of traffic) and you're there in two and a half. How many hundreds of millions (billions?) of dollars do you propose to spend, and how many tens of thousands of acres of wetland do you propose to pave over just to cut 30 minutes off the Raleigh-Charlotte trip time? Is your time really that important to you?

10 years after this direct route is built, the suburban sprawl it induces will give it the same rush-hour traffic problems as I-40/I-85 anyway, so exactly what is gained in the long run? It doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe it'll be worth it 30 years down the road, but right now there are MUCH more economical ways to improve Raleigh-Charlotte travel than that.

Namely: more train service! Spend 50 million on new sidings and double track, and you could run five daily Piedmonts instead of just one. NCDOT has plenty of rolling stock to do it. Then, spend another 20 million straightening curves and building grade separations - and get the trip time down to a reliable 2 hours 50 minutes.

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Another thing, I drive to Charlotte from Southern Wake County. It takes me 20 minutes just to get to I-40. So you have to throw that in with the time. If you can get to Wilmington in 2 hours, you should be able to get to Charlotte in 2 hours. Period.

I don't think the sprawl would be that bad in 10 years. Not a large highway heading to the southwest.

Yes, we need trains too! Highspeed ones. How about some of those trains like they have in Germany...you know, the ones that go over 400MPH! They run on magnets! How long do you think it would take to get to Charlotte then? They are starting to build them in Europe. Of course, this is the United States, so it will never happen.

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Both of u are wrong! I drive to Charlotte all the time. Yes, it's because of the traffic it takes that long. Thats my point! If they build a new highway going to charlotte and it was a straight shot, it would take off more than 30 minutes. The speed limit would be 70...of course you would go 80. It would then only take 2 hours, with none of the traffic headaches of I-40.

About 64, yes its a nice drive.  But it should not take 2 hours and 45 minutes from Raleigh. We need a road linking NC's two largest cites, thats a straight shot.  If the DOT built this new road of course development should not be allowed along the new road. Again, I'm comparing this to all the new highways they are building in eastern NC. Eastern NC does not need them. One is needed from Raleigh to Charlotte though. I get stressed driving in I-40 traffic. I am tired of it.

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Paving our way out of traffic jams just doesn't work. Like I said, this road might be nice for the first 5 or 10 years that it's open, but after that suburban sprawl will catch up and it will be just as crowded as 40/85. And let's not forget the I-85 construction in Rowan county, too. Once that's done, a lot of the stress of driving on 85 will be resolved.

And lastly, if you go back and forth from Raleigh to Charlotte a lot, you're tired of driving, and you haven't already tried it, give the train a try. Sure it takes longer than driving, but you gain the time back because you can walk around, take a nap, or work (in other words, do whatever you want.) You'll might even prevent gray hair or live longer due to the reduced stress ;) Personally, I am more than happy to give up 30 or 45 minutes of my time if it means I can avoid white-knuckling it through the wide loads and bad drivers on the interstate.

If you've already tried the train but decided that it wasn't for you, I'd be interested to hear why.

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Another thing, I drive to Charlotte from Southern Wake County. It takes me 20 minutes just to get to I-40. So you have to throw that in with the time. If you can get to Wilmington in 2 hours, you should be able to get to Charlotte in 2 hours. Period.

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Do you really think it's worthwhile to spend hundreds of millions of dollars so that people from southern Wake county can have a faster trip to Charlotte? Just how many people will that serve, anyway? It's completely unreasonable to expect there to be a straight shot freeway from exactly where you are to exactly where you want to go. Freeways are expensive to build, and have a huge impact on the natural and human environment. A landscape crisscrossed with freeways every 20 or 30 miles is not a good thing. Besides, Southern Wake Co. will have I-540 (I-640?) down there before too long. At least that will zip you over to I-40 in a hurry. Still too much congestion and too far out of the way? Spend a buck or two and take the triangle parkway to make your I-40 connection even more direct. If that's still too much trouble, move to Morrisville or something - problem sovled!

Something else that I've heard quite frequently but don't agree with is the notion that trains must be ultra-high-speed or else they're pointless. I don't know whether this arises from an inferiority complex to the Europeans and Japanese or just from imbalanced comparisons with air travel, but for a short, medium-traffic route like Raleigh-Charlotte, a decent 110mph top speed (80mph average?) would be perfectly adequate for the forseeable future. There's no need to spend tens of billions of dollars on pie-in-the-sky, mostly unproven technology like maglev just because it's a buzzword and it looks cool. Maglev is a technology that should only be pursued on ultra-high traffic routes where there is sufficient demand to justify the expense. Routes like Tokyo-Osaka in Japan, or perhaps NY-DC in the US might qualify, for example.

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This thread is a collection of all the posts about the need for a direct freeway between Charlotte and Raleigh that were hidden inside another thread.

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How about an upgrade to the rail link to provide a congestion-free option? highspeed rail between CLT and RDU would be great.

Right now the service is good, in that it doesn't take too much longer than the drive and unlike driving, one can do work on the trip. But at least for now the timing is all wrong: gets to CLT too late for a morning meeting and leaves too early for an afternoon meeting.

I agree that there are a lot more people making the commute on a regular basis not to providesome sort of direct link, but agree that the sprawl generated by a highway would make that option counter-productive.

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Is there really that much business between charlotte and raleigh though? I mean i have always figured that they were two seperate cities with different areas of economic concentration (ie finance vs biotech/gov). I believe that Charlotte's next interstate route should be to wilmington because it's absurd that the closest port is currently Charleston. Just my 2 cents

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How about an upgrade to the rail link to provide a congestion-free option? highspeed rail between CLT and RDU would be great.

Right now the service is good, in that it doesn't take too much longer than the drive and unlike driving, one can do work on the trip.  But at least for now the timing is all wrong:  gets to CLT too late for a morning meeting and leaves too early for an afternoon meeting.

I agree that there are a lot more people making the commute on a regular basis not to providesome sort of direct link, but agree that the sprawl generated by a highway would make that option counter-productive.

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It is my understanding that, within the next year or two, NC will start running three trains in each direction instead of just two. Supposedly there will be a morning, mid-day, and afternoon train. The mid-day train might leave Raleigh at 11:00 or so. I don't think they'd push the morning train back any earlier than 7:00, though. Once people see that "6" they start thinking it's too early.

Expect faster running times and better reliability soon too, as various upgrades currently in progress come on line. The Greensboro station will probably have the biggest impact, since it moves passenger operations out of Pomona Yard. We should have a sub-3 hour Raleigh-Charlotte trip before too long.

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It takes nearly 4 hours to get to Charlotte from Raleigh. It should only take two hours if there was a road that went straight there.

It takes me around 4 and a half hours to get to DC, only 4 hours late at night

I would say there is a problem!

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I don't know which way you drive, or how fast you drive..but it takes me 2.5 hours exactly to get from the NCSU area of Raleigh to I-485 in Charlotte. And I go there all the time.

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It takes nearly 4 hours to get to Charlotte from Raleigh. It should only take two hours if there was a road that went straight there.

It takes me around 4 and a half hours to get to DC, only 4 hours late at night

I would say there is a problem!

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I also have to disagree, It takes me an hour and ten minutes to drive from Greensboro to Charlotte. Since the distance between Greensboro and Raleigh is shorter than between Greensboro and Charlotte, its hard to see how it would be a four hour trip unless the drive was during rush hour or if you were driving incredibally slow. It should be more like a 2 and a half hour drive. I dont see the need for another freeway to connect Raleigh and Charlotte. Maybe a more direct link by rail but not another interstate.

A plan for a more direct freeway between Charlotte and Raleigh could be on the table 30 to 50 years from now because the growth of the piedmont cities along the I-85 corridor will cause more traffic. By that time Greensboro and Winston-Salem will both have a population around half a million people. High Point should have areound 200,000 people. The combined populations of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point should be around 1,200,000 people in about 30 to 40 years. and other smaller cities along I-85 like Burlington, Thomasville and Lexington will have alot more urban sparwl with a larger population. Maybe then it may be possible but its just not need today. There is just no where near enough traffic volume to even consider that. I also agree that Charlotte and Wilmington needs an interstate link. It alot more inconvient for Charlotteans to drive to the North Carolina coast because there really is no continous freeway from Charlotte to the coast.

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I don't think a new road is needed. I have often driven from Huntersville to RTP in 2 hours and 15 minutes. Downtown Raleigh is just 30 more minutes unless it is afternoon rush hour.

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I believe I saw some discussion in the paper a year ago about upgrades to highway 49 and 64. We've got legislators interested in this. More 4 lane, and perhaps a bypass around a town or two could happen.

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I am for progress in Charlotte and Raleigh. As a number of my post touched on this subject. However I do agree with road improvements back east. Remember these projects have been bought and paid for long before this site was up and running. Also the Wilson Rocky Mount area is poised for growth as soon the state get there act together and stop trowing money at far fetched projects(take a guess). Trust me most people want the best interstate system for our high profile cities but that is only half the population that live in these areas. I support spreading the wealth for meaningful projects. Priorities 1. I-485 2. I-77 widening 3. interstate link to wilmington 4. How about some lights on I-440 and I-40 lets get out of the dark ages

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With experience along the NC 49/US 64 corridor between Charlotte and Raleigh, I have not read the NCDOT TIP in a while but if i recall, all NCDOT will do is four lane the corridor, relocate portions of the highway and perhaps convert some, if not all into partial controlled access (expressway in another words). I have seen work on NC 49 where some of the at-grade intersections between Harrisburg and Stanley County are being grade seperated. The real work needed is NC 49 between NC 73 and where the Asheboro future bypass will begin as most of this highway is still two lane. For US 64, a bypass for Siler City is not in dire need but would make it more convient to avoid the business strip of the town.

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85/40 is more than adequate to go between charlotte and raleigh. 49/64 improvements are being studied to provide a scenic or back route, but is not planned to be a freeway. Just a 4-lane highway/expressway, with perhaps some access limitations to preserve the through-traffic capacity.

By the way, i think another interesting possibility is that if/when us74 is ever upgraded to freeway (i30, maybe?), and US1 is upgraded to a freeway, then we'll have a 2nd viable alternate route from the 40/85 route. Downtown charlotte to downtown raleigh is ~171 miles using 85 and 40... using us74 and us1, it is ~171 miles.... So the more Us1 and us74 are upgraded, the more they will be a competitive alternate that will will alleviate traffic on the main interstate crescent in the state.

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We have all those highways in places like Wilson county b/c that's where the political power comes from.

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