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Triad Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction


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Here are some photos from Main St bridge over Business I-40 today and a video of the project.  https://www.business40nc.com/resources/Pages/videos.aspx this will be nice when it is done.    

Drone video of the I-785/I-840 interchange at Highway 29 in North Greensboro.

https://www.greensboro.com/news/local_news/new-section-of-the-greensboro-urban-loop-opens-it-s/article_1f826ef5-412a-5500-8eac-52385606637c.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campa

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JerseyBoy, in your next to last pic it seems as if people prefer to drag this out over 6-7 years. However, the Journal is reporting the majority of folks prefer the 2 year option. What was the outcome of the meeting you attended? This seems contradictory.

I read that article myself and was just as confused.

This meeting I went to was primarily for the DOT designers to listen and gather ideas for what residents would like to see done to the road and thought about the two options. Overwhelmingly, the majority of people in the room were in favor of closing the road for two years. This is also what the DOT is leaning towards as well, even though I think they had already made this decision from the beginning.

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You could be right, but the DOT never commented at the fact that Ardmore residents wanted the six year option over the two year one.

By the way, welcome to the forum Piedmont Airlines! :)

Yadkinv, many interstates in the country were built in the late '50's/early 60's when the standards that we have today did not exist back then. Yet, they were grandfathered in by AASHTO and FHA over the years. I travel the Cross Bronx Expressway when I go back up north and that is the most substandard and inadequate road I have ever traveled on, yet it is signed as an interstate.

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Exactly, the Cross Bronx Expressway is precisely one of the many I had in mind. So, if these are grandfathered in why not green 40; having an interstate designation is a big deal, and greens are designed for non-expressway situations. Most are in the West, have stoplights, and were invented because most interstates in the West by-passed downtowns. If NCDOT is responsible for the green interstates in NC, specifically, I 40 in W-S and I 85 in Greensboro, they don't know what greens look like in the West.

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True, but I want to know what the DOT's justification is for widening a stretch of road that really does not need it. The part(s) of 77 they should've rehabilitated are in North Meck or Iredell County, not near a cow pasture in Rena. Yadkin County is a part of the same division as Forsyth County, and I don't recall ever coming across anything in the paper or the DOT website about this project. What irks me the most is that there are projects in the Triad that have been postponed for decades, and we get pushed to the side for a small exurban area. There must be some justification for it, but I'm just not seeing it.

NCDOT is not widening I-77 to eight lanes. There may be some auxillary lanes being constructed....or even upgrading shoulders to 12 feet....but there is no widening of eight lanes in Yadkin County.

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Exactly, the Cross Bronx Expressway is precisely one of the many I had in mind. So, if these are grandfathered in why not green 40; having an interstate designation is a big deal, and greens are designed for non-expressway situations. Most are in the West, have stoplights, and were invented because most interstates in the West by-passed downtowns. If NCDOT is responsible for the green interstates in NC, specifically, I 40 in W-S and I 85 in Greensboro, they don't know what greens look like in the West.

The difference between Green 40 and other business interstate routes in the west or even business 95 is that business 40 in WS was actually signed as I-40 and constructed as a freeway. Many business routes out west were not signed as or constructed interstates nor even improved. Most often the interstate business designation was added to the adjacent US route as a means to connect interstate traffic with bypassed CBDs. The Business 40 improvements are capacity and safety related. Decel and acceleration ramps are substandard and create problems with weaving and merging. Also, they affect traffic flow on the mainlanes...thus hindering traffic flow.

Even though both the Cross Bronx Expressway (CBE) are both substandard in design.....for anyone who has actually driven the CBE at any given time of the day knows that any attempt to add additional capacity would result in massive community impacts.....traffic impacts (as you would have to route I-95 traffic on I-287 or down I-278 through Queens and Brooklyn down the BQE which is already substandard and over capacity). Comparing the two isn't really comparing apples to apples. The volumes and scale of the impacts are waaaayyyy out of proportion. On the CBE, you have old....really old utilities, subways crossing over and under the expressway....densly populated neighborhoods. This is basically the story for all NYC freeways.

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NCDOT is not widening I-77 to eight lanes. There may be some auxillary lanes being constructed....or even upgrading shoulders to 12 feet....but there is no widening of eight lanes in Yadkin County.

I drove this stretch and saw that DOT had constructed an additional two lanes on the right hand side of the road (with shoulders) and the original two were closed off but being rehabilitated. I couldn't imagine they would want to tear up the old roadway and not use it again, but it may be their plan. I might also mention that the new bridge constructed over the river near Elkin (New River?) has been built to the capacity for three to four lanes.

for anyone who has actually driven the CBE at any given time of the day knows that any attempt to add additional capacity would result in massive community impacts

Oh most definitely, but what I was getting at was that the interstate was signed in a day when we did not have the standards we have today. The same went for Business 40, which was downgraded. The NCDOT could not request AASHTO for an interstate designation for Business 40 due to the reasons I mentioned above. Yadkinv was asking why it couldn't be signed as an interstate when there are hundreds of miles of road throughout the US that are signed as one, but not up to standards.

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But, I still don't see the difference. Unless I missed something, the only difference between the CBE and green 40 is that green 40 was downgraded (by whom, NCDOT or AASHTO?) and CBE was not (apparently the same for many other substandard interstates). This is patently unfair to W-S, which needs interstates to be economically viable. It doesn't matter about the history of development of the greens in the West, they are different, and so greens like former I 40 in W-S should not be designated green. Again, this is patently unfair for CBE to remain an interstate, and former I 40 in W-S to be downgrade especially since ostensibly it's not possible to fix CBE because of the infrastructure. So, if it's not possible for that reason, then CBE and all of the others nationwide should be downgraded as well. My question is who does the downgrading, the relevant DOT or AASHTO? If the DOT, then shame shame on NCDOT for not knowing what greens really look like. It should be AASHTO, or why do they even exist? In short, if nothing can be done about this injustice, and that is the correct word to use here, then there should be a new category of Interstates established by AASHTO because green 40 in W-S and green 85 in Greesnboro are definitely not green (although green 85 in High Point does fit the definition - more so anyway). I suggest a new category, possibly Interstate Secondary or Alternate (not Business as that's green - Connector, Loop, a Spur can't be used because that's the terms for the 3-digit Interstates), and the color should be blue although that might be too close to the green color; orange is not good because that indicates construction or of a temporary nature; not brown as that designates historical; maybe white and blue only.

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But, I still don't see the difference. Unless I missed something, the only difference between the CBE and green 40 is that green 40 was downgraded (by whom, NCDOT or AASHTO?) and CBE was not (apparently the same for many other substandard interstates). This is patently unfair to W-S, which needs interstates to be economically viable. It doesn't matter about the history of development of the greens in the West, they are different, and so greens like former I 40 in W-S should not be designated green. Again, this is patently unfair for CBE to remain an interstate, and former I 40 in W-S to be downgrade especially since ostensibly it's not possible to fix CBE because of the infrastructure. So, if it's not possible for that reason, then CBE and all of the others nationwide should be downgraded as well. My question is who does the downgrading, the relevant DOT or AASHTO? If the DOT, then shame shame on NCDOT for not knowing what greens really look like. It should be AASHTO, or why do they even exist? In short, if nothing can be done about this injustice, and that is the correct word to use here, then there should be a new category of Interstates established by AASHTO because green 40 in W-S and green 85 in Greesnboro are definitely not green (although green 85 in High Point does fit the definition - more so anyway). I suggest a new category, possibly Interstate Secondary or Alternate (not Business as that's green - Connector, Loop, a Spur can't be used because that's the terms for the 3-digit Interstates), and the color should be blue although that might be too close to the green color; orange is not good because that indicates construction or of a temporary nature; not brown as that designates historical; maybe white and blue only.

Good Point!

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But, I still don't see the difference. Unless I missed something, the only difference between the CBE and green 40 is that green 40 was downgraded (by whom, NCDOT or AASHTO?) and CBE was not (apparently the same for many other substandard interstates). This is patently unfair to W-S, which needs interstates to be economically viable. It doesn't matter about the history of development of the greens in the West, they are different, and so greens like former I 40 in W-S should not be designated green. Again, this is patently unfair for CBE to remain an interstate, and former I 40 in W-S to be downgrade especially since ostensibly it's not possible to fix CBE because of the infrastructure. So, if it's not possible for that reason, then CBE and all of the others nationwide should be downgraded as well. My question is who does the downgrading, the relevant DOT or AASHTO? If the DOT, then shame shame on NCDOT for not knowing what greens really look like. It should be AASHTO, or why do they even exist? In short, if nothing can be done about this injustice, and that is the correct word to use here, then there should be a new category of Interstates established by AASHTO because green 40 in W-S and green 85 in Greesnboro are definitely not green (although green 85 in High Point does fit the definition - more so anyway). I suggest a new category, possibly Interstate Secondary or Alternate (not Business as that's green - Connector, Loop, a Spur can't be used because that's the terms for the 3-digit Interstates), and the color should be blue although that might be too close to the green color; orange is not good because that indicates construction or of a temporary nature; not brown as that designates historical; maybe white and blue only.

I am not familar with the Cross Bronx Expwy, but I would expect the major difference is NCDOT built a parallel freeway in the 90s for the primary purpose of essentially replacing 'old 40' for through interstate traffic. Once the new road was built, that all but eliminated the need for a primary interstate route on old 40, thus we now have green 40 serving more local traffic and the new I-40 serving more regional & through traffic. Recall that I-40 in Downtown Winston-Salem was one of the first interstates built in NC, and was woefully inadequate for the traffic it was carrying, even in the 90s. In hindsight, maybe it could have been rebuilt and widened in place (causing some massive impacts BTW), but that's water under the bridge. It seems like a lot of people on the forum place importance on the interstate shield, almost as if having the blue shield is a status symbol. Does it really make much difference? At the end of the day, I would think it's more important that it's a safe operating highway, which will hopefully be the result of the improvements.

On the subject of the W-S Northern Beltway, the feds have taken a step moving the highway closer to reality.

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Chief is right, current Business 40 was downgraded from Interstate status when the new bypass opened up, due to the fact that there was no need to continue an interstate through the center city. I, personally, do not need an interstate for the sake of status or to satisfy my inner road geek. I just think that the way NCDOT uses Business interstates is detrimental to companies and businesses along the affected route. Though I guess one has to look at what negative effects the Business route status has had on the inner-core neighborhoods of Winston. None that I can tell...

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Actually it is very important to have Interstate Highway designations, not to satisfy the unimportant ego or desires of groups or individuals, but for the all important economic recognition game nationally. That is also why the I 274 designation is important for the western leg of the W-S Beltway, and why I 285 is already designated for US 52 from I 85 in Lexington to I 40 in W-S, and that it should be extended northward to I 74. Further, and has been suggested, US 421 from I 77 to I 40 in W-S should be signed as a three digit even of I 77 such as I 477 (I 277 is taken). This road, by the way is to Intertstate standards (or almost) as it is now signed in orange I 40 alternate - the only such designation I've ever seen.

Anyway, what is now green I 40 in W-S should have been signed I 840 (that designation of the Greensboro Beltway should have been a three digit of I 85) even though it might not have been brought to standard for years; that seems to be the way it works everywhere else in the nation (preserving the all important Interstate signing for cities). No matter what one believes, the green designation of Interstates carries a negative connotation, and as was pointed out hurts the business community. Imagine indicating PTRP is on green 40, or it's on I 1040 (red, white, and blue).

It might be moot now according to an article in today's W-S Journal. Since a new stretch of the Greensboro Beltway recently opened, it was signed I 40, and the old western section of I 40 is signed green I 40 apparently creating confusion with two green I 40's in the Triad.

Now, W-S has been asked to come up with another designation for its green I 40. How very intersting that W-S has had green I 40 since 1992, but now is on the spot to come up with a new designation - seems to be a bit of yet more transportation bias against W-S.

I think W-S should use the opportunity to sign its green I 40 with I 1040, the first four digit Interstate Highway (all of the single, even three digits of I 40 are taken in the State, and it can't be odd by definition), or maybe even push for an entirely new Interstate category.

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I disagree wholeheartedly that interstate designation is "All-important."

It's not like Winston-Salem was bypassed by I-40 when the new alignment was built. Mainline I-40 still goes through the city. All you have to do is look at a map to see that green 40 is a freeway. Just that it's not built to interstate standards (and should NEVER be due to the severe impact that it would have on the downtown area.)

As for the example of Spartanburg. The construction of the new I-85 didn't cause businesses along the old I-85 to suffer because of the loss of the blue I-85 shield. It caused business to suffer on the old route because there was then a BETTER ROUTE that people prefer to take.

Again, I think all this arguing over the Blue Shield and how it brings "prestige" or how it brings "national recognition" to a city when it has a blue-shielded interstate as close to downtown as possible is pointless. Do you think that a city takes a couple steps up the ladder of national importance because you can see its skyline from a blue-shielded interstate? Baloney. In fact, doing so is counter-productive, because the kinds of businesses supported by mainline interstate traffic (big box retail, fast food restaurants, truck stops, gas stations, and discount chain hotels) aren't the kind of businesses that you want to have in large quantities right next to your downtown anyway.

Death Valley in Greensboro and Green 40 in Winston are substandard highways that are not designed to carry much traffic, and are signed with the green shields because of it. Makes perfect sense to me.

Edited by orulz
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This is my last post about green interstates. There is a reason most states opt to not have green interstates. They are confusing to motorist. Locals still call I-40 in Winston-Salem "New" 40 and unless you know what they're talking about you have no clue what they mean. No other states around us are so prolific with this business interstate numbering system. I can't imagine VA re-routing I-95 along I-295 because most of that stretch is substandard. To be honest though my main concern with this is the continued blight of that area as the surviving businesss will continue to struggle.

I would argue that using the US routes alone would be enough for old I-85/40 through death valley. Death Valley isn't that bad, what causes the problem is the short on ramp from MLK that causes drivers to suddenly have to merge into speeding left lane traffic, also having only 1 lane exiting onto US 29 NB. But whats done is done, US 29 is still a traffic problem daily theres just less through traffic now.

Edited by Creasy336
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As I'm sure the environmental impacts and financial costs would've been greater, I was always an advocate for taking the I-85 and I-40 bypass funds and modernizing and widening Death Valley (similar to a Durham I-85 reconstruction). This would have brought visitors through the city and help keep businesses, even though were somewhat trashy, afloat.

When you're driving through a city and there is an option between a Business highway and an Interstate, which one are you going to choose? The businesses along the old route will see decreased revenue and will eventually close and turn into new slums that will eventually require taxpayer's money to revitalize the area. This is why I am against DOT signing every road that has had a bypass built around it as 'Business'.

The difference between Winston-Salem's Business 40 and Greensboro's Business 40 is that Winston's primary purpose is to funnel local traffic through the city, while Greensboro's was originally a road that relied on out-of-town traffic.

Some may see this as a pointless argument that has no point whatsoever, but the fact is that when you take traffic going to the Triangle, beach, and up North or mountains, Charlotte, and other points west and route it onto a new bypass, the existing businesses that once relied on that traffic will deteriorate and close up shop.

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Well. there are differing opinions, and it seems in NC, the NCDOT has opted for what is not prevalent in most of the country (it is in SC a bit as well). In my opinion, and others, Interstate designation signifies transportation importance, and most locational analysts use this as a heavily weighted criteria in their analyses.

So, having separate such designations is overall benefiicial.

Green 40 should not lose its Interstate designation, but should be changed to something other than green.

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As I'm sure the environmental impacts and financial costs would've been greater, I was always an advocate for taking the I-85 and I-40 bypass funds and modernizing and widening Death Valley (similar to a Durham I-85 reconstruction). This would have brought visitors through the city and help keep businesses, even though were somewhat trashy, afloat.

When you're driving through a city and there is an option between a Business highway and an Interstate, which one are you going to choose? The businesses along the old route will see decreased revenue and will eventually close and turn into new slums that will eventually require taxpayer's money to revitalize the area. This is why I am against DOT signing every road that has had a bypass built around it as 'Business'.

The difference between Winston-Salem's Business 40 and Greensboro's Business 40 is that Winston's primary purpose is to funnel local traffic through the city, while Greensboro's was originally a road that relied on out-of-town traffic.

Some may see this as a pointless argument that has no point whatsoever, but the fact is that when you take traffic going to the Triangle, beach, and up North or mountains, Charlotte, and other points west and route it onto a new bypass, the existing businesses that once relied on that traffic will deteriorate and close up shop.

Please note, the I-40 routing around Winston-Salem hasn't always been. The "I-40 Bypass" was opened in 1992. Originally, I-40 through Winston served a similar purpose as 40/85 in Greensboro. When travelling death valley, one notices that historically, there had never been a huge concentration of traveler dependent business....primarily around Lee Street and along I-85 south of the I-40 split. The majority of the businesses on now "Green 40" through west Greensboro continues to serve locals. Now the motels around High Point Road may struggle. However, the majority of the businesses should continue to maintain.

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Upcoming road projects in the area:

- Widening of Lewisville-Clemmons Road from Peace Haven Road to Forest Oaks Drive in western Forsyth County could start March 31 and is scheduled to finish June 15, 2009.

- U.S. 29 from Business 40/85 to north of Cone Boulevard in Greensboro will be resurfaced. The project could start as early as March 31 and is scheduled to finish October 31, 2008.

http://triad.bizjournals.com/triad/stories...ml?surround=lfn

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  • 3 months later...

When you're driving through a city and there is an option between a Business highway and an Interstate, which one are you going to choose? The businesses along the old route will see decreased revenue and will eventually close and turn into new slums that will eventually require taxpayer's money to revitalize the area. This is why I am against DOT signing every road that has had a bypass built around it as 'Business'.

Don't forget that the hotels along High Point Road off old-40 are a stone's throw away from the Koury Convention Center and Four Seasons. Didn't Howard Johnson's close and then a new hotel (name escapes me right now) sprang up in its place. Likewise, the hotels on Wendover are still close enough to retail and the airport. And then there's the number of regional sports tournaments for children/teenagers that are held in Greensboro. Those businesses will be ok, I think.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Don't forget that the hotels along High Point Road off old-40 are a stone's throw away from the Koury Convention Center and Four Seasons. Didn't Howard Johnson's close and then a new hotel (name escapes me right now) sprang up in its place. Likewise, the hotels on Wendover are still close enough to retail and the airport. And then there's the number of regional sports tournaments for children/teenagers that are held in Greensboro. Those businesses will be ok, I think.

Yes, HoJo closed and was shortly renamed "Hi-Rise Hotel." Soon it was remodled into a Doubletree hotel.

It appears I might have been wrong on the rehabilitation currently taking place on I-77. After a closer look a few weeks ago, they are resurfacing the road and adding wider shoulders. An interesting thing to note is that the 77 recently rebuilt southbound span of the bridge over the Yadkin was built to accomodate 4 travel lanes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been looking at google maps recently and I have to say that the average joe might look at the Triad area and assume it is THE metro of the state. The number of limited access highways that criss cross the region is uncommon for a metro of its size. Greensboro has more impressive interchanges than Charlotte does. Although I do not like most of if any interchanges NCDOT builds but it seems the Boro made out pretty good. The I-73/40 interchange might be the most massive in the state. Although the 485/77 interchange in south Charlotte is the class act of the state. Now the 840/40 interchange east of G-boro looks to be one of the most poorly planned waste of space, time and money I have ever seen. That interchange is bigger than some cities buisness districts. Not only that but there had to be a better way to merge these to interstates using just a 2-level sprawling mess of a design. Once again given a clean slate NCDOT managed to totally screw up a major interchange. I think I will create a thread in the NC forum and give grades to all of the interchanges that I have been studying.

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