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Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction


monsoon

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Other than talking about it on the Charlotte forum, I have no clue where anyone has said Charlotte should pay for it.

Here it is. -------V

If we only get one project in the Charlotte Metro, the Yadkin River Bridge should be it. That impacts us just as much as it does Cabarrus.
My posts were in regards to this. I don't consider this to be the most important project to the Charlotte metro area. If this is the only project that Charlotte gets, then Charlotte is paying for it.
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It is funny how we hear; build a toll bridge, so more of our tax money can move east to build freeways in rural areas. I think the areas that are paying most of the taxes should get some consideration.
Why is it funny. The state says it is not going to build this bridge at all because of cost. A toll bridge is the perfect way to fix the problem.
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It is funny how we hear; build a toll bridge, so more of our tax money can move east to build freeways in rural areas. I think the areas that are paying most of the taxes should get some consideration.

Please do not forget about the freeways in the rural piedmont and mountains. Folks in Charlotte are quick to point to the eastern part of the state. Please do not forget out the freeways and expressways being planned and recently built in the rural piedmont and moutains...

NC 16 in Lincoln County

US 421 around Sanford

I-74/74 and US 220 in Richmond County

US 64 around Mocksville

US 64 around Asheboro

US 74 around Shelby

US 321 south of Lenoir

US 221 Bypass around Rutherfordton

US 74 in Cherokee, Graham, and Swain Counties

US 52 improvements in Forsyth, Stokes, and Surry Counties

We must also be mindful of the state bridge program. There is many funding sources...STP and NHS and so forth. With the coastal areas having more bridges and this fact cannot be overlooked. Also, due to the high number of stream and river crossings and wetlands in the eastern part of the state, in order to get permits, bridges......longer bridges are often required on highway improvement projects. That escalates project costs significantly.....not to mention mitigation costs. A different set of engineering and environmental challenges.

The point is, there are a whole lot of areas competing for highway dollars....urban and rural. Areas with higher populations which mean more vehicles buying gas thus contributing the highway fund via gas taxes will always subsidize areas with lower populations. Thus Texas and California for example with much higher vehicle numbers than NC helping to subsidize the other parts of the nation with lower populations......including NC. If the point was for all highway moneys to go to areas of higher populations and higher traffic volumes....then until we had a freeway break the 200K vpd mark, we would not get any highway dollars. There must be real thought placed on the vision for the planned facilities which ultimately dictate design standards....and cost. But you can't overlook safety.

The ultimate goal of the stimulus package is to put people to work. If the Charlotte Outer Loop (TIP Projects R-2248E or R-2123CE) is not ready to go when the money becomes available, then with the ultimate intent to put people to work....we need to put people to work where ever we can....whether it rural or urban. If the money comes down the pipe in summer of 2009 and there is a choice between widening Independence Blvd or construction the next leg of the Fayetteville Loop....and Independence is not ready to go to right of way acquisition and Fayetteville is....where should the money go?

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The way Independence is going; it will take 64 years to get to I485 which is 8 mile from where they have stop construction. It takes about 8 years to do one mile of Independence from start to finish. As construction cost goes up it may never get done.

As I said, the areas of the state that pay a lot of road taxes goes from Wilmington to Asheville it is not all in the piedmont.

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Yea, Independence always gets lower priority from our division. At least the section to Idlewild will be funded soon through Garvee bonds, and I think they are including a few upgrades to the section between 51 and 485 as part of the 74 Bypass in Union.

That leaves only 5 miles between Idlewild and 51, and they have only even listed a $25m feasibility study on the TIP and it isn't even funded through 2015. I suspect that eventually it will get higher priority as the city starts to focus on the SE transit corridor, but it is pretty much no going to happen within a decade. However, I know the 2064 was a joke, but once the 74 Bypass is done, I bet that will help increase priority for that last section inside of 485, as I suspect it will be brutal. I feel confident it will be done before 2020, that is, will show up for funding on the TIP at some point in the next few years, especially if 485 gets sped up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lee Myers, who is the mayor of Matthews and current chairman of the Mecklenburg MPO has written Barack Obama on behalf of the MPO and asked him to freeze all federal highway funding going to North Carolina until the NCDOT is investigated for the way it has been ordered by Easley to allocate highway funds. The issue is the unfunded 5 mile piece of I-485 vs such things as the loop road in Fayetteville. Myers, in his letter to Obama, said that highway money in this state is allocated for political reasons rather than reasons of need or practicality. Obama has said he is against federal dollars being used this way so it will be interested to see how he handles this request. NC gets about $980,000,000/year from the federal govt.

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Lee Myers, who is the mayor of Matthews and current chairman of the Mecklenburg MPO has written Barack Obama on behalf of the MPO and asked him to freeze all federal highway funding going to North Carolina until the NCDOT is investigated for the way it has been ordered by Easley to allocate highway funds.

It's about time someone does. I don't know how much political power a mayor over a small area has on a national scale, however. It is insanity the way that highway funds have been diverted in the state. Whatever happened to finishing your dessert before ordering more!?

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Lee Myers, who is the mayor of Matthews and current chairman of the Mecklenburg MPO has written Barack Obama on behalf of the MPO and asked him to freeze all federal highway funding going to North Carolina until the NCDOT is investigated for the way it has been ordered by Easley to allocate highway funds. The issue is the unfunded 5 mile piece of I-485 vs such things as the loop road in Fayetteville. Myers, in his letter to Obama, said that highway money in this state is allocated for political reasons rather than reasons of need or practicality. Obama has said he is against federal dollars being used this way so it will be interested to see how he handles this request. NC gets about $980,000,000/year from the federal govt.

Score One for Lee Myers! :good:

A2

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That is a very good idea, actually. NC really needs to switch to a more technical process for prioritizing projects. As I've written countless times, there is certainly a place for making sure rural areas get roadway capacity, as almost all of us eventually get on rural through-ways to get places. But NC has been blatantly stacking the deck against areas with clear and technical needs.

Frankly, the political power structures run so deep, it may take federal oversight like Myers is requesting to make substantive change. Perhaps just the threat will help Purdue make good on her promises, even though she was originally part of the problem.

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I thought this op-ed to the N&O might provide a good counterpoint to Mr. Myers argument. Perhaps he should have published it in the Charlotte Observer too, though there's probably not much sympathy for Ft. Bragg and Fayetteville in the Queen City. I should point out that when Mr. Myers compares the traffic on Fayetteville's loop (<20k) to the traffic on I-485 (~120k), it's like comparing the Lynx line to the Denver T-Rex or Portland MAX, a startup line vs a system in the making for decades... not necessarily an apples to apples comparison.

Lacking a data-driven, long term, strategic blueprint for infrastructure in NC (why, where, when), and given that freeways loops are going to be built in the near to medium term--new urbanists or common sense be damned--I have less of a problem with I-295 in Fayetteville than I do with some others... such as the $1.5B+ Gaston Parkway, which is a 100% pork barrel land grab... or the $1B+ Cape Fear Skyway, an unecessary road with an unecessary post card bridge span to the 'wrong' coastal port. At least I-295 serves an existing, large & growing economic engine for a part of the state that doesn't have too much else going for it.

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The News & Observer op-ed makes a compelling argument. However, I still don't see the need for an interstate loop road. Why not create a network of surface highways around Fayetteville to create a regular loop road? Think "Billy Graham Parkway" but in Fayetteville.

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The News & Observer op-ed makes a compelling argument. However, I still don't see the need for an interstate loop road. Why not create a network of surface highways around Fayetteville to create a regular loop road? Think "Billy Graham Parkway" but in Fayetteville.

Yeah, I agree with you in principle. I was just presenting the minority viewpoint that if loop roads are to be built, I don't think the Fayetteville freeway is necessarily unjustified. I just want folks in Charlotte to be careful about the arguments they use to justify roadway expansion in the QC. I would argue that we need a sustainable strategic plan for all state infrastructure, regardless of geographic or political influence, that focus on maintaining our existing highways, expanding intercity rail between major economic centers, and vastly increases urban/multimodal investments in our growing cities. That would be a plan that I could get behind, and would undoubtedly benefit the state's largest metro more than a petty, backward-looking political argument.

Instead, Mr. Myers is saying the money should be spent in Charlotte over Fayetteville because the 'traffic is already here on our freeways, so we need more freeways to cope with the traffic.' We know the fallacy of that argument & that doesn't sound like much of a strategic plan to me. So, all I am saying is don't fall into the trap of arguing that freeway dollars are better spent in Charlotte because we have the traffic that others do not have. Not a winning argument.

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...... the trap of arguing that freeway dollars are better spent in Charlotte because we have the traffic that others do not have. Not a winning argument.
Maybe I am completely missing something there, but this sounds like a 100% winning argument.

  • Cumberland County, Population 299K, Change from 2000 = -1.3% <- It's losing population, the current roads should be fine traffic going away
  • Mecklenburg County, Population 827K, Change from 2000 = +20% <- Lots of traffic and growing. Spend money here to accommodate it.

Goodness.

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Maybe I am completely missing something there, but this sounds like a 100% winning argument.

  • Cumberland County, Population 299K, Change from 2000 = -1.3% <- It's losing population, the current roads should be fine traffic going away
  • Mecklenburg County, Population 827K, Change from 2000 = +20% <- Lots of traffic and growing. Spend money here to accommodate it.

Goodness.

Regarding Charlotte,

Larger metros around the nation are recognizing that building more freeways is not the means to cure traffic congestion. Multi-modal solutions is the means to improving traffic woes. Giving folks options other than their cars is the first step. The Charlotte area needs to approach their transportation issues as a region, not as Mecklenburg County/CATS and then each individual county attempting to solve their issues. Having regional transportation authorities/Agencies that look at regional issues rather than at the locality level will help to improve regional transportation. The Charlotte area is made up of two RPOs and three MPOs. Municipalities in Union, York, Lancaster, Chester, Gaston, Rowan, Lincoln, Union, and Iredell should play a role in development of a regional transit network consisting of commuter rail, light rail, and express buses to truly connect the region. Freeways or not. Even Atlanta is looking to develop a regional/commuter rail network. It is important that localities do what they can at their levels and the members of the commuties do their part as well. CATs and the adjacent communities should be working diligently to extend the various corridors beyond Mecklenburg's borders and truly creating a regional transit network....and insuring that growth is planned to accomodate a sustainable transportation network. I-485 is moving forward and will be built...soon...I'm sure. But just as Charlotte has needs, so does other GROWING metros in NC.

Regarding Fayetteville,

Despite the figures shown, as the BRAC changes in the US Army's forces continues, the Fayetteville area will continue to see growth in population growth...significant growth as soldiers, DOD employees, and dependents arrive. Part of the negative population change can be attributed to the loss of several fighter squadrons including the support staff (civilian and military) and the dependent families. In regards to interstate funding for the loop. The urgency or importance of the Fayetteville Loop is no different than the importance of the Charlotte Loop....relatively speaking.....especially once the next section of the Fayetteville Loop is completed. Comparing the existing section of the Fayetteville Loop to the existing Charlotte Loop is not comparing apples to apples. Currently, the Fayetteville Loop in its existing form is like the Charlotte Outer Loop only extending from I-77 in south Charlotte to US 521. Now if one considered the limits of the Fayetteville Outer Loop once the next section is opened (Bragg Boulevard to I-95), then it would be equivalent to the Charlotte Outer Loop running from I-77 to US 74 near Monroe.....making it (I-295) more regionally and locally significant. As connections to regionally and locally significant routes in the Fayetteville area (US 401 to Hoke County, NC 24-87 to Sanford/downtown Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg Spring Lake gate, the All-American Frwy to the Ft. Bragg Main Gate, and I-95 south), the traffic volumes will grow...not to Charlotte numbers, but enough to show that the facility is a needed one for the region.

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Gene Conti was named as the new Secretary of DOT.

"Under his leadership, we'll have a department that makes decisions more efficiently and more professionally," Perdue said. "Transportation decisions will be based on data."

"It's far too early for promises, but I want to ensure the people of North Carolina that we will be open and honest," Conti said. "I am simply not comfortable doing business any other way."

He formerly served as Asst. Sec. for Transportation Policy at USDOT under Clinton. From what I know, while perhaps not being the ideal candidate for new urbanists, he definitely has some expertise and should be viewed as a positive development for transportation in NC.

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  • 1 month later...

So NCDOT is getting about $800M from the Obama Stimulus and Division 10 ( which Mecklenburg is part of ) will be getting about $54M.

That is it....$54M to be spread across Anson, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Stanly and Union counties. What a joke.

Division 10 Represents 14% of the States Population but the "Equity" Formula says we get less than 7% of the Stimulus money. What a rip off.

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But 51 gets widened from Pineville to South Carolina thanks to the stimulus!!! I have always had that on my list of the most important projects in the region.

What a waste. The leaders of this state just don't get it. The equity formula is the reason we are falling so rapidly behind in our infrastructure needs!

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$54 million is way too low. Charlotte and the Triangle should get atleast $200 million each (The Triad maybe $100-150 million and whatever is left over can be dispersed throughout the rest of the state). In defense of Highway 51, that stretch can get really congested and is an alternate to 485. I was hoping that maybe they could use this stimulus money to finish fixing all the broken lights on the highways (big pet peeve of mine) but that doesn't seem likely. Looks like it is just another wasted opportunity for our region. :(

If this state would invest in the infrastructure in Charlotte and the Triangle more people and more jobs would move here. Instead, they put (or so it seems) most of the money in the Eastern part of the state (which is losing population) in hopes of attracting people and businesses. Put the money where the people and the jobs are/want to be. It isn't rocket science...

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Some encouraging news about the Yadkin River Bridge... Governor Perdue is going to pursue discretionary money put aside in the stimulus to fix the Yadkin River Bridge. NC will have to compete with other states to get this money and hopefully the state will be able to convince the US Secretary of Transportation to give us the money to fix the bridge.

http://news14.com/content/local_news/triad...ge/Default.aspx

Edited by nyxmike
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$54 million is way too low. Charlotte and the Triangle should get atleast $200 million each (The Triad maybe $100-150 million and whatever is left over can be dispersed throughout the rest of the state). In defense of Highway 51, that stretch can get really congested and is an alternate to 485. I was hoping that maybe they could use this stimulus money to finish fixing all the broken lights on the highways (big pet peeve of mine) but that doesn't seem likely. Looks like it is just another wasted opportunity for our region. :(

If this state would invest in the infrastructure in Charlotte and the Triangle more people and more jobs would move here. Instead, they put (or so it seems) most of the money in the Eastern part of the state (which is losing population) in hopes of attracting people and businesses. Put the money where the people and the jobs are/want to be. It isn't rocket science...

I see folks have been throwing around numbers regarding how much money Charlotte will get. Where are these numbers coming from. On page two of the list of potential project, R-2248E (I-485, NC 115 to I-85) is shown as an advanced delivery project. http://www.ncdot.gov/_templates/download/e...micStimulus.pdf

This means that NCDOT is still looking advance this project with stimulus funds. The project is scheduled to go to right of way in July 2009. This would mean that Charlotte is getting more than $54 million.

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