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Triangle road & traffic thread

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Perhaps I've never driven Capital Blvd at the right time of day, but every time I've driven that road south of 440, it's always been free-flowing. Sure, there's a stoplight here and there, and you may get stopped at one or two of them, but you always make it through on the first green and are never delayed more than a minute or two for the whole trip.

Some of the 1950s-era ramps aren't up to modern standards, and the lanes are a bit narrow at points, so perhaps it could be modernized - but beyond that, the current combination of thoroughfare / Jersey Freeway is hardly an impediment to traffic in or out of downtown.

It's only north of I-440 that things start to break down.

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Perhaps I've never driven Capital Blvd at the right time of day, but every time I've driven that road south of 440, it's always been free-flowing. Sure, there's a stoplight here and there, and you may get stopped at one or two of them, but you always make it through on the first green and are never delayed more than a minute or two for the whole trip.

Some of the 1950s-era ramps aren't up to modern standards, and the lanes are a bit narrow at points, so perhaps it could be modernized - but beyond that, the current combination of thoroughfare / Jersey Freeway is hardly an impediment to traffic in or out of downtown.

It's only north of I-440 that things start to break down.

I've had the same experience. If US 1 could be turned into a freeway from I-440 to I-540, there would be a huge time savings. This will never happen though as the costs would be too high. I still think, though, that a few interchanges (Trawick/Brentwood, Buffaloe/New Hope Church, Millbrook, Spring forrest, and Triangle Town Center) and converting the right lane to a merge and exit lane would do wonders.

As far as East End Connector goes, The Road itself is fine. It would be nice as part of that if US70 (Glenwood) was upgraded to freeway from I540 up through I85 (some is already done).

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For the East End Connector to be this useful, the part of 540 south of 55 would have to be built past US 64 to US 1 -- a project that will not get a *dime* of NC DOT funding.
Western Wake will be built to NC 55 in Holly Springs:

western_wake_mapsmall.gif

so there will be a connection from US 1 north along 540, Triangle Parkway, Durham Freeway, EEC, US 70, and I85 north to VA.

As far as East End Connector goes, The Road itself is fine. It would be nice as part of that if US70 (Glenwood) was upgraded to freeway from I540 up through I85 (some is already done).

I think the idea for the EEC is that it will reduce the need for US 70 improvements since I-40, 147, and EEC would be a parallel freeway route. Also, I believe some of existing US 70 will be upgraded as a part of the EEC project near NC 98.

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What? New Hope Commons, Southpoint, 55/54 aren't sprawl? Yes, less land was gobbled up than in N. Raleigh but Durham has had WAY less growth than Raleigh. I think you're confused by a volume issue instead of a quality issue.

I'm pretty sure the Wal-Mart at New Hope Commons was built where it is because Chapel Hill/Orange County wouldn't allow it. This area, though it's technically in Durham and was allowed to occur because of Durham, is largely disconnected (development-wise) from the rest of town. Consider the distance from Patterson Place/New Hope Commons to South Square/University Tower. Plus it's really close to I- 40.

I'm glad there isn't a loop like 440 in Durham. Proximity to an interstate is a major plus for retailers with auto-centric business models.

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North Carolina Turnpike Authority and the Triangle Transit Authority have reached an agreement to have future sections of I-540 have a 78 foot wide median. This will make it easier to add HOV lanes or a Rail Line in the future. The only part of I-540 expected to get the extra-wide median is the southwestern arc where the proposed toll is going to be built.

WRAL story and video can be seen here:

http://www.wral.com/news/9833262/detail.html

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North Carolina Turnpike Authority and the Triangle Transit Authority have reached an agreement to have future sections of I-540 have a 78 foot wide median. This will make it easier to add HOV lanes or a Rail Line in the future. The only part of I-540 expected to get the extra-wide median is the southwestern arc where the proposed toll is going to be built.

WRAL story and video can be seen here:

http://www.wral.com/news/9833262/detail.html

I think we can scratch rail from the list of median options. The engineering needs in terms of straightness and curve gradients are much more stringent for rail than for highways.

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When i see extra wide median, im thinking the NCDOT in the decades to come will convert I-540 into a dual carriageway. I doubt we'll ever see rail along the future sections.

FYI: NCDOT has done some work to estimate the costs of different HOV options:

http://www.ncdot.org/projects/hov/i40.html

One thing I notice with all the talk about HOV lanes in this area is how they would go in the center (left most) lanes. Why is this? Wouldn't it make more sense to have HOV on the right side? Maybe a bit confusing but in this manner, Busses and HOV autos wouldn't have to negotiate 3-4 lanes of traffic to exit. I was in the Seattle and they had this type of thing there, and it seemed quite nice.

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One thing I notice with all the talk about HOV lanes in this area is how they would go in the center (left most) lanes. Why is this?

Thats a good question. The HOV lane setup (situated along the median) on I-95 in northern Virginia provides entrance and exit ramps. One of the downsides to this is that it only opens for peak hour travel for one traffic bound, not both.

Edited by Jerseyman4

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Western Wake will be built to NC 55 in Holly Springs:

western_wake_mapsmall.gif

so there will be a connection from US 1 north along 540, Triangle Parkway, Durham Freeway, EEC, US 70, and I85 north to VA.

... Also, I believe some of existing US 70 will be upgraded as a part of the EEC project near NC 98.

Agreed.

Also Western Wake beyond Hwy 55 will be overkill after NC 55 expansion is complete along with Davis Drive. I think Hwy 54 expansion would supercede the Western Wake Extension. I can't remember if it was mentioned in the 2007-2013 plan.

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From Sandford/Southern Pines 421 is good access to 95 and from Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, etc. NC 42 is a good east-west connection to I-95. How many people make this trip now?

Grouping SaNford and Southern Pines together is incorrect, there in two different counties and are not together by any means.

If you are in Sanford and trying to get to I-95, the suggested routes are:

To the north:

US 1 NORTH to Raleigh

I-40 EAST

US 64 EAST to I-95 in Rocky Mt

Mapquest says:

1 Hour and 33 minutes

93.83 Miles

Results can be clicked here

Even in shortest distance, you cannot get the US 421 alternative.

_______________________________________

To the south: (using Florence, SC as an example if I-95 is taking you beyond NC)

NC 87 SOUTH

I-95 SOUTH

Mapquest Says (to Florence)

2 hours, 20 Minutes

124.33 Miles

Results can be clicked here

The shorter route shows this result

NC 42 and US 421 are NOT GOOD ALTERNATIVES and take much longer from S.P. and Sanford since they go too far east. On NC 42, you have to contend with sprawl from southern Wake County before you get to Fuquay-Varina then, traverse through more sprawl in Johnston County before approaching I-95 near Wilson. US 421 is not any better either as it goes too far east towards I-95.

Ive done both routes so i know this from experience.

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NC_North-South_route.jpg

This can easily make US 1 south of Raleigh a very useable road to get to Columbia(SC), Augusta(GA), Columbus(GA) and into Montgomery(AL). That of course if the following occurs:

- Improvements are made through Tramway between the southern end of the Sanford bypass and the beginning of the Vass-Cameron bypass. Improvements such as installing superstreet intersections and/or frontage roads to eliminate traffic signals may be the best move. An interchange at NC 78 would have to be built but would be difficult to do so. No word on when improvements will be made through Tramway

-Improvements between the southern end of the Vass-Cameron bypass and the northern end of the Southern Pines bypass. This would be much easier to do than in Tramway. Also no word on when improvements will be made over there.

-A bypass relocation of US 1 through Southern Pines, Aberdeen and Pinebluff. There are talks of this project but the horse country owners and homeowners of southeastern Moore County will likely put up a strong fight to stop this. Currently, after the Southern Pines bypass ends, you must travel through the 5 lane Sandhills Boulevard for a couple miles. It is not that painful to pass through (at 45mph) but if a lot of out of town traffic uses US 1 in the future, it will then be very congested and maybe the center turn lane will have to be closed off. Between Aberdeen and Pinebluff is ok but would have to be bypassed because it is a short four lane semi rural stretch.

- US 1 widening project finishes between the Moore/Richmond border and the SC State line. Sometime after 2010, construction will start. A bypass of Rockingham is also part of the plan.

- Four laning of US 1 through the Midlands region of South Carolina from the NC/SC state line to Camden, near I-20. There are no plans to widen US 1 through this part of SC simply because the traffic volumes are very very low between Cheraw and Camden.

- Up until Augusta(GA), traffic would be using I-20 because US 1 parallels the interstate.

-Approaching Augusta, US 1 would use the Fall line Freeway (WARNING: PDF) alignment, which most of this project is under construction. Around Wrens(GA), the fall line freeway alignment then goes due west towards Alabama, departing from US 1.

The highway would then terminate in Columbus(GA) just before Alabama. US 80 west of Columbus (??not sure if it needs improvements??) would then get you to the I-85 juncture, about 20 miles northeast of Montgomery. So really, this corridor could be one large bypass of I-85 between Durham and Montgomery, years and years from now.

Edited by Jerseyman4

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Traffic congestion is still just as bad and now there are cries to expand I-85 there to 23-24 lanes.

Wait...23-24 lanes? Are you serious?!? I've never heard of any interstate being that wide...that's insane!

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i would suggest its an enforcement issue. It would be hard to determine who is driving for some distance in the HOV lanes illegally vs. who is just in the lane a short distance to exit. The northern va. set up would ideally be nice, but look att he I-40 corridor, it doesn't have enough clearnace on each side to expand for that sort of thing. Atlanta freeways and I-77 in charlotte have the left handed HOV lanes and they work quite well, IMO.

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Should we toll all of 540 so DOT can build more roads elsewhere for "free". Why stop there? Why not toll 40 at the Wake/Durham line? That'll raise all kinds of money!

Seriously, if they get in writing that the toll booths and ez-passes come down as soon as the road has been paid for and has a decent cushion for repair/expansion, then I'd be for it. Virginia did this, but New Jersey *still* won't stop collecting on the Parkway and Turnpike.

What would it take to retrofit this wider median into the existing half of 540? The Capitol Blvd to 64 section probably won't have it either, but east side commuters could just pick the "south" branch of 540 with the HOV lanes.

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Talk about lighting (lots on my mind today). Has anyone traveled down the U.S. 1/64 stretch toward Apex recently. DOT is apparently installing a TON of new lights on that stretch.. Wonder if there's an agreement with Cary to maintain them, since DOT doesn't usually install that much lighting, especially on a non-interstate route.

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Talk about lighting (lots on my mind today). Has anyone traveled down the U.S. 1/64 stretch toward Apex recently. DOT is apparently installing a TON of new lights on that stretch.. Wonder if there's an agreement with Cary to maintain them, since DOT doesn't usually install that much lighting, especially on a non-interstate route.

I noticed this too. Got me thinking. Cary is always known for this type of stuff anyways as far with new additions to try to upgrade the exisiting freeways. Even though it is non interstate US 1 is 4 lanes all the way to Pinehurst now.

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I didn't know where to put this, but a topic about terrible traffic seemed appropriate to me...

I-40 fix will cost millions. This is really terrible news, and I'm embarrased to be associated with DOT to be quite honest. They are advertising a contract to repave the entire 10+ mile section of highway from 147 to 15/501. This is absolutely a nightmare scenario... having to repave a freeway that was just built a year ago, adding possibly tens (?) of millions to the another project and thus diverting money away from other needs in the area. NCDOT really deserves to get reamed over this.

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Road cost overruns, project delays, etc. should be taken for granted, but when those kinds of problems disturb a rail project, it gets killed.

The fact that there is more people "seeking accountablitiy" from the Wake County public school system than the NC DOT speaks volumes to the area's priorities. Raleigh passed a bond to pay for NC DOT roads the DOT refueses to maintain, but won't pass a bond to maintain its classrooms. Ugh.

To say nothing of the scandals that got swept under the rug when determining the route of 540, the "prioritization" of extending TW Alexander north of Glenwood into farmland even though the city of Raleigh said it did not want it, etc.

I want the John Locke Foundation to tell me why I as a taxpayer should pay twice (in money and time wasted in traffic) for I-40 widening/repair and not at all for rail.

Also, why is asphalt replacing the concrete? I really doubt it will last the 30 years the (properly laid) concrete would last. So now this stretch of 40 will require a new layer of asphalt every 10 or so years, adding two additional "repairs"? With the "fairness" in sharing DOT funds, those repairs will probably get put off indefinately as well. Will this "unforseen cost" push the East End Connector and/or Triangle Parkway even further back?

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Jojo...any idea what the gas tax transfer to the general fund stands at nowadays? Drivers could fund alot more asphalt if all the revenue collected from roads stayed in road building. Local governments are not supposed to subsidize one fund with another...yet the State continues to do so......ah wait, here it is the 2006 budget bill, shows the transfer at $252,663,009 (page 5) That would certainly help.....you see your taxes are being held artifically low by this transfer, and as a result, transportation options are reduced. This would have to be overcome before you see any innovative options set forth by the state, i.e., commuter rail paid for by the State.

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That really is a nightmare scenario. I was disappointed that the widening didn't involve asphault to begin with. I hate concrete highways because of the budump budump budump think that invariably happens after the panels have settled. (I will say that US1 in Cary is impressively smooth in the areas where they diamond disked the surface so far.)

In the same vein as those who want high gas prices to drive demand for alternative fuels and transportation systems, one could argue that more gridlock on I-40 could drive more demand for the TTA system.

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Jones, as far as the transfer goes, the GA cancelled or reduced the transfer for this fiscal year I think. I can't remember the details, but it was around $200M I think.

One big issue in the upcoming GA long session is going to be local options to pay for transportation, schools, etc., such that each county will have a "menu of options" that they can shoose from to fund projects... such as real estate transfer fees, impact fees, local options sales taxes, etc. If/when this issue comes up, we should all contact our legislators to push them on this. The urban counties are being left behind on state funding for badly needed transportation and school projects. If we don't do something, we will look forward to a property tax hike probbaly each year for the forseeable future. I think counties should definitely have the authority to enact more funding options to pay for public faclilties in high-growth areas.

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Jones, as far as the transfer goes, the GA cancelled or reduced the transfer for this fiscal year I think. I can't remember the details, but it was around $200M I think.

One big issue in the upcoming GA long session is going to be local options to pay for transportation, schools, etc., such that each county will have a "menu of options" that they can shoose from to fund projects... such as real estate transfer fees, impact fees, local options sales taxes, etc. If/when this issue comes up, we should all contact our legislators to push them on this. The urban counties are being left behind on state funding for badly needed transportation and school projects. If we don't do something, we will look forward to a property tax hike probbaly each year for the forseeable future. I think counties should definitely have the authority to enact more funding options to pay for public faclilties in high-growth areas.

agreed :thumbsup:

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