The state has some big highway projects in the works in the Triangle, including the Durham East End Connector, the Triangle Expressway across southern Wake County and the widening of a stretch of the Raleigh Beltline.
Now the N.C. Department of Transportation wants the public's help in deciding what comes next.
NCDOT is putting together the latest version of its 10-year-plan for highway, transit, rail, airport and bicycle projects. It includes hundreds of possibilities in the Triangle, from rebuilding the Interstate 40 interchange with U.S. 15-501, at a cost of $195 million, to spending $187,000 to build a bicycle and pedestrian path from the Crabtree Creek Greenway Trail to WakeMed in Raleigh.
The projects in the State Transportation Improvement Program or STIP are on a website, www.ncdot.gov/strategictransportationinvestments/2020-2029.html, where you can search an interactive map for ones in your area. You can also provide feedback through an online survey or get information on how to submit comments via email, mail or phone. NCDOT is accepting comments on the STIP until July 9.
NCDOT is also answering questions and collecting feedback at public meetings in each of its 14 divisions. The meeting for Division 5, which covers seven counties, including Wake, Durham and Franklin, will be held at the division office, 2612 North Duke St. in Durham, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19.
This version of the STIP covers the decade from 2020 to 2029. Some of the big projects on the list are:
▪ Widen U.S. 64 (I-87) from four lanes to six from Wendell Boulevard east to the U.S. 64/264 split in Zebulon, starting in 2026.
▪ Widen U.S. 1 from four to six lanes from U.S. 64 in Cary to N.C. 55 in Apex, starting in 2026.
▪ Construct bridges that would allow the closing of several railroad crossings, including on Millbrook Road in North Raleigh, Vandora Springs Road in Garner and South West Maynard Road in Cary, starting in 2028.
▪ Finish N.C. 540, the Triangle Expressway, from I-40 northeast to U.S. 64 in Knightdale, starting in 2027. The state has already committed money to build N.C. 540 from Holly Springs to I-40, starting as soon as next year.
▪ Establish a commuter rail line from Garner to Durham, with four locomotives and eight coaches.
NCDOT updates the STIP about every two years. Projects considered to have statewide significance, such as widening major highways, are ranked by how much they would cut congestion and promote safety and economic development. Projects of regional or local significance are also evaluated that way, but NCDOT also weighs feedback from local governments and the public. The score for each project is included on the website.
The state Board of Transportation is expected to approve the final STIP for 2020-2029 next summer. If you're project is not included in this round, don't give up hope. NCDOT will go through this whole process again in about two years.