monsoon

Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction

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I said before and will say it again...how do you not include a provision for I-73/74 or whatever to have to have at least a spur to Charlotte or to Wilmington. Mindblowing the route 74 takes to the SC border.

Because there's an interstate highway that links Ohio, WV, VA, NC (Charlotte) already called I-77. Wilmington has I-40, and will have a direct link from I-95 along US 74 as I-20 or some other designation.

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Honestly, I think the upgrades to turn 74 into a freeway from downtown to Albemaro Rd have done far more harm to the city than good. Like all freeways, it has divided the city, cut off access between neighborhoods, and has had a lot to do with the decline of East Charlotte. 25 years ago, though it was congested, there was much more of a neighborhood feel to that part of town than there is today. Now we have a faceless freeway that leads to the sprawl that was built after that project was started and a bunch of empty buildings along the route. The only thing they should have bult was the busway and instead finished 485 much sooner to give traffic a way to get to 85 and 77 without having to use Independence.
Well, to be fair, Independence had to be upgraded. I remember being terrified as a child on the narrow concrete section between Briar Creek and Hawthorne Lane. Now that stretch is actually kind of attractive with the trees and berms. Great view of the skyline too :D . Amity Gardens Shopping Center will be demolished in the first half of 2007 (and although I despise this retailer) a brand spanking new Wal-Mart Supercenter with bus depot will go in its place. The redevelopment of Coliseum Center site is planned for the same time.

While I agree that Independence severed neighborhoods (i.e. Elizabeth, Chantilly) when it was built, I-77 severs entire towns in north Meck. yet no one complains about it.

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While I agree that Independence severed neighborhoods (i.e. Elizabeth, Chantilly) when it was built, I-77 severs entire towns in north Meck. yet no one complains about it.

No not at all. All of the growth that occured west of I-77 occured "after" the road was built. No neighborhoods and zero lot line buildings were leveled to build it. The traditional centers of of Huntersville, Davidson and Cornelius are all on the east side. In any case, it is completely irrelevant to the point at hand.

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^ If that were the case, every interchange connecting the east and west of Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson wouldn't be congested at any given time of the day or night.

The only neighborhoods that Independence divided were the two I mentioned and Commonweath (which was screwed up by the Eastway/Wendover connection constructed in 1975). The remaining ones were built post Independence. The boulevard itself is partly responsible for the tremendous growth that took place in East Charlotte in the 1970s and '80s.

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The City is scheduled to test a new asphalt material that, if successful, may reduce maintenance cost, increase the life of the pavement, and potentially reduce asphalt quantities used. The new asphalt mix will be tested along Park Road between Smithfield Church Road and South Mecklenburg High School. The new material will be evaluated at this location over the next two years. The anticipated date for this work is the first week of October 2006.

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^ If that were the case, every interchange connecting the east and west of Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson wouldn't be congested at any given time of the day or night.

You must be referring to Exit 25 which was built long long after I-77 was constructed and yes it is congested and due to bad zoning by Mecklenburg country. Exit 23, 28, and 30 are fine plus there are several bridges that connect the two sides which are not freeway exits. Since they are local roads, there is no congestion on them at all. Davidson does not exist west if I-77 except for one condo development on the Lake. Maybe you ought to take a trip up here before you make comments that are not correct. In any case it is irrelevant to the situation on Independence which is a completely different situation and one wonders your motivations for bringing it up in the first place.

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The only neighborhoods that Independence divided were the two I mentioned and Commonweath (which was screwed up by the Eastway/Wendover connection constructed in 1975). The remaining ones were built post Independence. The boulevard itself is partly responsible for the tremendous growth that took place in East Charlotte in the 1970s and '80s.

Turning Independence into a freeway basically divided all of the land between Eastway drive and downtown Charlotte. Miles of businesses and homes were leveled to make it so. That is a huge area that I would not trivialize by calling it a couple of neighborhoods. It also greatly increased the traffic down this corridor which makes pollution and noise much worse. That section of Independence that was scary was due to the fact the NCDOT repainted the lines on a 4 lane highway to make it a 6 lane highway by reducing lane size to 9 ft instead of the standard 12. It was a bad decsion. They should have instead to put in a plan to divert west bound traffic around the city to I-77 and I-85 which is responsible for a huge amount of traffic, and left Independence to operate as a local road. This would have also eliminated the need for at least some of I-277.

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The City is scheduled to test a new asphalt material that, if successful, may reduce maintenance cost, increase the life of the pavement, and potentially reduce asphalt quantities used. The new asphalt mix will be tested along Park Road between Smithfield Church Road and South Mecklenburg High School. The new material will be evaluated at this location over the next two years. The anticipated date for this work is the first week of October 2006.

Is this why one lane out of 4 is not yet re-paved? Gotta love driving over manhole covers sticking up 2" above the pavement :wacko:

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You must be referring to Exit 25 which was built long long after I-77 was constructed and yes it is congested and due to bad zoning by Mecklenburg country. Exit 23, 28, and 30 are fine plus there are several bridges that connect the two sides which are not freeway exits. Since they are local roads, there is no congestion on them at all. Davidson does not exist west if I-77 except for one condo development on the Lake. Maybe you ought to take a trip up here before you make comments that are not correct. In any case it is irrelevant to the situation on Independence which is a completely different situation and one wonders your motivations for bringing it up in the first place.
I brought it up because all last year I drove it on a daily basis (non-rush hour) from uptown to the new Lowe's corporate facility while working on a land-use study for Langtree Road. I also have a very good friend who lives in Rosedale who complains about the traffic, and I spent a good amount of time on Lake Norman when I had a boat docked at another friend's house off Exit 28. I guess "correct" is simply a matter of opinion. I think the traffic up there sucks.

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Back on about I-85, even though the stretch through the University Area was just widen 2 years ago, during rush hour I've seen back ups all the way to Harris Blvd. The backup starts around 3PM. Luckily for me, I'm traveling inbound towards Uptown from Winston-Salem for my usual trip back home from college on the weekends. The back up is there b/c of the Concord Mills exit, going from 4 lanes to 2 lanes in the northbound lanes. Even on Sundays I've seen this mess when I go back to Winston-Salem, next time I'll probably take I-77 to I-40 instead of I-85. By the time I-85 is widen to NC 73, I'd have no need to travel up and down I-85.

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The City is scheduled to test a new asphalt material that, if successful, may reduce maintenance cost, increase the life of the pavement, and potentially reduce asphalt quantities used. The new asphalt mix will be tested along Park Road between Smithfield Church Road and South Mecklenburg High School. The new material will be evaluated at this location over the next two years. The anticipated date for this work is the first week of October 2006.

Could the new material be 'Nova Chip'? That stuff is great, especially in the rain. It's maybe a bit noisy for roads like interstates. Saw it all over Japan a few years ago, and it's starting to show up here at home now, too.

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Could the new material be 'Nova Chip'? That stuff is great, especially in the rain. It's maybe a bit noisy for roads like interstates. Saw it all over Japan a few years ago, and it's starting to show up here at home now, too.

I'm not sure what the new matieral is...I'll see what I can find out, but I'm pretty sure its not Nova Chip as the city has been using that for a couple years on new roads.

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Today, I had the "joy" of being on 485, and I've decided I have have a new peeve about DOT. Why on earth must they put those extremely expensive bridge structures to put massive overhead signs over the lanes. I mean, have we reached the stage where we much spend millions of dollars just so drivers don't need to cock their heads 45 degrees to the right?

Are those things really necessary all over the place? I mean, they'll have a big bridge-thing to hang a huge sign just to say that an exit is in 2 miles.

Those things are not cheap, too. Pay attention to new stories whenever they come up. It is a massive structure of steel, just to convey 3-5 words.

To me, if the road is now too wide to assume that people will be able to read a sign on the right side of the road, why not put them on the median side?

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Another issue on 485 is the big digital sign they put up over the outer loop side heading towards Concord. I believe it is either at Rocky River or the Harrisburg exit and I have never once seen it display anything but "testing" or garbled characters. What pisses me off is that they spent who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe even over a million?) only to put a mobile solar powered unit right beside of it during the races and events at LMS. Why bother putting up such a structure if you're never going to use it?

Give me something useful like today's weather or a reminder to drive safely? :angry:

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^^Same problems in the Triangle as well. For the first time, EVER, I saw some traffic information on the overhead sign on westbount I-40 in RTP this weekend. They said that the NC55 ramp will be closed for some certain dates. The only other meaningful information I've seen on those signs is an Amber Alert. On EB I-40, they have an overhead sign, but they bring in a generator-powered unit to give traffic information at the Wade/I-40 split just a mile down the road. Pointless.

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It reminds me what a piss poor job the NCDOT does in designing, building, and maintaining its highways compared to almost any other state. This despite having the highest gasoline tax in the nation to pay for the things.

monsoon, you posted this over on the "grand entrance thread" on the NC board. I respect your right to post as you choose, but you also continually mislead people with these false statements. First, NC absolutely does not have the highest gasoline tax in the nation. (see this list for 2006 gas taxes) Second, NC has the second highest number of state maintained mileage(78,615 miles, 2nd to TX) and no county funds to help supplement state funds (like many other states). By highway expenditures per system mile, NC ranks one of the lowest in the nation and 6th of 8 among these "peer" states: FL (first), PA, GA, TX, VA, NC, WV, SC (last).

By no means do I think the state does a great job in many respects and there are lots of things that could be improved, but I can't let blatantly false comments go by without responding. These types of comments lead to the "perception is reality" problem when the perception is in fact, false and misleading.

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Jojo, do you know how much those sign bridges cost? Why are they necessary? Also, do the electronic signs get funded separately? How much do they cost? Why are they never used?

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....

By no means do I think the state does a great job in many respects and there are lots of things that could be improved, but I can't let blatantly false comments go by without responding. These types of comments lead to the "perception is reality" problem when the perception is in fact, false and misleading.

Ok 6th highest however it is far higher than any other state in the South according to that list.

In terms of the quality of the roads, I stand by what I said. The NCDOT maintained roads in the urban areas of this state are a disgrace. Next time you are in Charlotte get on I-77 at exit 28 and drive it to the SC state line. If you survive the trip and your car doesn't get engulfed by a crater or you are not shaken to death on the uneven pavement (on the new sections no less) or you are not hit by someone swerving to avoid the trash, then take a look on how the road should look once you drive into SC. If SC can build a decent freeway in the Charlotte Metro, I certainly don't see why the NCDOT can't pull off the same thing. Even the new roads are already crap. Oh and gasoline is 40 cents/gallon less money in SC, be sure to fill up while your are there.

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If you mean overhead signs with steel supports, like this

i-085_nb_exit_119_01.jpg

the cost varies from about $25 to 75k from what I can see from the averages linked below. Things like type of signs and location on the roadway are prescribed by standardized federal guidelines on placement, etc. Ex: ever noticed from state to state, all signs are the same green color, same logos, same lettering. This is by design and to eliminate confusion. Of course, it's up to the state as to what to put on those signs. :-)

This page shows construction bid averages (unit costs) for various years around the state. These admittedly read like spanish if you don't know what you're looking for. Items like concrete, asphalt (petroleum is the major ingredient), and steel have risen by ~40% in about 3 years or so. That's why costs for projects such as the South Corridor LRT have risen so much from the original estimates.

I don't know why the electronic signs aren't used more--always wondered myself. It's something I could check on. I know some message signs have been funded outside of normal road funding channels, but I'd have to look into it further.

Edited by ChiefJoJo

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Is there anything that dictates when they put the sign bridge over the whole road, rather than just at the side of the road?

My main concern is this. Let's say it costs 50k to build a sign bridge over 4 freeway lanes. Many of those signs are not anywhere close to the importance of the new 40 / 85 split in Greensboro. Many are just piddly little interchanges like "oh, yeah, by the way, for the 20 people that care, Brown-Grier Rd is coming up in 2 1/4 miles". Yet, we've spent 50k in order to put that sign above the middle lane of the freeway, rather than just a sign at the side.

It takes 165,837 gallons of gas to get the revenues do fund that one sign bridge. Yet, it has very little value to drivers.

So, I'd say interstate to interstate interchanges are important enough to spend that much on a sign. But no way little two-lane rural crossroads need to have that much sign attention. Major roads like Tryon don't even need it. I just think of how many thousands of freeway exits I've used successfully, by seeing a sign on the right side shoulder. Why now do we need to spend so much to put them over our lane?

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While we are talking about signs...where is the Overhead Sign for the Independence (US 74) and Albemarle Rd interchange? It was supposed to have been put up about a year ago when the interchange opened...but still they just have a little temporary sign for the left exit to Albemarle Rd. I remember when that interchange opened there were a lot of wrecks due to the new interchange and lack of signage.

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I'm pretty sure that the temporary sign was just a construction sign. The one there now has a steel pole and is a proper green reflective sign. I think that is it.

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I'm pretty sure that the temporary sign was just a construction sign. The one there now has a steel pole and is a proper green reflective sign. I think that is it.

:huh: ^^^ You mean that on one of the most congested arteries in the state and all it gets is a little dinky steel post and other little two lane roads that lead to nowhere get an elaborate skybridge. Hmmm that was in Raleigh though ;) . This shows real priroity on the states part. No wonder we scored a D- on our Roads and Interstate Infastructure. What a joke. (actually it is quite sad.)

A2

Edited by A2

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To me, it DOES show a priority, put more on asphalt and less on steel sign posts. 485 and new urban loop freeways across the state are littered with these ultra expensive bridges just to hold a sign with 3 words. Since when is telling people their exit is in 2 miles worth 25-75k?

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