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Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction

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I'll take an interchange that is both functional and economically viable over an expensive but pretty one any day. We need to be smart with the limited transportation money we get in Charlotte.

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NCDOT has finally provided live traffic cams of the I-85 widening/Yadkin River Bridge replacement project. Here is last week's NCDOT press release with more information.

I'm glad you posted this, I was going to but forgot.

I wish NCDOT had more streaming cameras with that high of a frame rate across the state. They can come in handy.

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Drove down Eastfield earlier today to see the progress on the I-485 extension. I'm suprised to see how much land clearing is already going on, this area is going to look VASTLY different in a couple months. I'd hate to live in one of those bordering neighborhoods though.

Trees have been cleared from Alexanderana all the way to Browne Rd.

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Scathing criticism of the "diverging diamond" interchange concept from the standpoint of a pedestrian or cyclist. It shouldn't be too surprising, given that the "diverging diamond" comes about as a way to move cars even faster. The basic issue is that the engineer (whose tour is criticized) doesn't really address whether or not people would want to walk or bike through this thing. He simply touts that there was accommodation for them, ignoring the fact that it's still a terrible environment for pedestrians or cyclists.

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2011/11/7/the-diverging-diamond.html

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Which part am I 100% WRONG on?

-Surmising about their projections?

-Acknowledging 4 distinct, growing towns comprising the Triangle?

I grew up in Raleigh so I know becoming a big city with tall buildings is the last thing on people's minds. So I'm not WRONG on that one.

So you speak for all Raleighites?

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So you speak for all Raleighites?

No, I don't. I am enjoying seeing Raleigh become a mid-size metropolitan area. But I've never heard its citizens discussing its downtown skyline and tall buildings, nor can i recall Raleigh ever trying to promote itself as a "World city" or comparing itself to Atlanta.

I think all of North Carolina is content with and proud of Charlotte being its big city.

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The Monroe Connector has a website: http://www.monroeconnector-bypass.com/ and it has maps and videos that was given out at last month's right-of-way acquisition meetings. I didn't realized it'll be two lanes in each direction for its entire route, if it's a success two lanes will not be enough when developments start popping up at each interchange. I hope the towns in Western Union County will consider closely how to handle development and their plans is to decrease their dependent on residential properties for property taxes to more commercial.

Also I-277 is getting a review that is about 20 years late: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/12/19/2860382/i-277-interchanges-to-be-evaluated.html

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^I'm not worried, so long as the design of the Turnpike leaves space within the median, along its edges, and/or over/under bridges to widen in the future. The project will already have a built-in advantage to correct its lanes, unlike the mistake of I-485 in South Charlotte-- tolls, which can help pay off future widening projects of much smaller scope than the initial construction of the Turnpike.

Unlike Atlanta, Charlotte may have to get used to seeing only three free lanes maximum on any expressway within Mecklenburg County. Beyond that, any additional capacity is likely to be carpool lanes, express lanes, or HOT lanes. Not only will such strategy help better manage congestion, but it will also have a built-in funding mechanism, if HOT lanes.

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To add to all this, the Shelby Bypass is slated to begin construction next year which would give Charlotte direct freeway access to Asheville. Eventually US-74/I-74 is to be a freeway from Asheville all the way to Wilmington (Minus the ~10 miles of expressway in Charlotte). That should help the Port of Wilmington be more competitive versus the Port of Charleston for Charlotte's and Asheville's freight.

Edited by cltbwimob

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To add to all this, the Shelby Bypass is slated to begin construction next year which would give Charlotte direct freeway access to Asheville. Eventually US-74/I-74 is to be a freeway from Asheville all the way to Wilmington (Minus the ~10 miles of expressway in Charlotte). That should help the Port of Wilmington more competitive versus the Port of Charleston for Charlotte's and Asheville's freight.

What's the plan for the stretch of US-74 that runs through Marshville/Polkton/Wadesboro? There seems to be a plan for every other part of US-74 to either be upgraded to a free/expressway, or to create bypasses, but I can't seem to find anything on this last piece of US-74.

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To add to all this, the Shelby Bypass is slated to begin construction next year which would give Charlotte direct freeway access to Asheville. Eventually US-74/I-74 is to be a freeway from Asheville all the way to Wilmington (Minus the ~10 miles of expressway in Charlotte). That should help the Port of Wilmington be more competitive versus the Port of Charleston for Charlotte's and Asheville's freight.

They're building a bypass of the bypass? Excellent, their Walmart really needs a new location. 74 is so congested!

</urbanistsarcasm>

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^At least this bypass (Monroe Connector) will have control of access, similar to an interstate. As a toll road, it should never have driveways. And so while Wally World could open near an interchange, I'm not sure their patrons would want to pay tolls to go buy cheap China crap.

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^At least this bypass (Monroe Connector) will have control of access, similar to an interstate. As a toll road, it should never have driveways. And so while Wally World could open near an interchange, I'm not sure their patrons would want to pay tolls to go buy cheap China crap.

Speaking of that...anyone knows if the Walmart on Independence will have any driveways onto Independence? I remember the original zoning maps did have them, however I was on Independence last week and I saw construction crew tearing up the curb where the old driveways were.

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All this bypass of a bypass talk is always irksome to me. All roads are bypasses of bypasses in some form. Do we really want to be stuck with our 1926 roadway system because they bypassed something else? Obviously all those older bypasses that became horrible commercial arterials with 70s and 80s strip malls slow down actual through-traffic. So when a town like Shelby gets big enough to warrant a freeway bypass, it is still worthwhile to build that even though it's a shame they wasted their old infrastructure with bad city planning.

I think, though, that they didn't fund the whole [new] Shelby bypass, just a portion of it (unless that is new info in the last month). Also, the Marshville/Polkton/Wadesboro upgrades of 74 are not funded for the current 7 year plans.

It does appear that the remaining Kannapolis-China Grove section of 85 is in the plans now as funded, (and hopefully will be accelerated with GARVEE bonds eventually), so that is the last stretch from King's Mountain to Hillsborough that is remaining to be upgraded. (The Hillsborough to Durham stretch is starting to be funded for right of way).

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I think the business about "bypassing the bypass" in shelby is a bit overblown. The original Shelby bypass was built in 1952. That would be 59 years ago. Even today it's still significantly faster than taking the old, pre-1952 route. It's just that there are way more people in NC than in 1952 so an alternate route through Shelby is needed.

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In the late 80s, there was talk about building a Wadesboro bypass south of the city. Today, I think we need a bypass that links in Marshville with the Monroe toll bypass all the way south of Wadesboro to the Rockingham bypass, which would create a faster route to Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand, Fayetteville, and Wilmington for much of the state.

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I'm hoping that once the toll road goes in past Monroe, that they'll eventually start funding the additional stretches from Monroe to Rockingham needing upgrades, either by toll road or increased volume giving it higher priority.

It always has seemed to me that it ought to be an interstate route from 485 (or 277) to 73/74 in Rockingham.

All the upgrade to 74 are on the books, but pretty much they are mollasses for getting funding, just like Monroe Bypass was until they got toll funding approval.

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Another brainiac move by NCDOT and Char Meck Planning. This Walmart on Independence was a very bad idea. Traffic was at a near standstill today driving east on 74 at the new store. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

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^"Today" being a Saturday, and "standstill" being a line of cars in the right-most lane? Have you ever seen the I-85 ramps to Concord Mills on a Saturday?

No, it was all lanes. Hill, curve, two exits, all within two tenths of a mile. Brilliant.

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^Were motorists exiting the Wal-Mart driveway trying to merge all the way left to Albemarle? That's about the only thing I can think of that would cause problems across all lanes. Having traffic exit left off an expressway, especially within limited spacing of exits, is about as poor of a design as allowing slow-speed driveways access to a high-speed expressway.

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