Skip to main content

Who'd have thought roads would cost so much to build?

A "Eureka!" moment from NC Turnpike Authority director David Gibson as recounted in Bruce Siceloff's column this morning in the N&O:

Joyner blames soaring land costs for the local turnpike gap. The cost of buying right-of-way for the Triangle Expressway, originally planned as a toll-free part of Raleigh's Outer Loop, was pegged at $52 million in 2002 and at $135 million in 2006, he said.

This year, after he saw the rising prices school officials were paying for western Wake real estate, Joyner asked appraisers and surveyors to update his right-of-way budget for the Triangle Expressway.

The new numbers arrived in his Glenwood Avenue office Friday: $233 million, a $98 million increase in the past year, to buy 732 acres not yet purchased by DOT or pledged by RTP's landlord, the Research Triangle Foundation.

The estimate works out to about $225,000 an acre in average land values -- with 40 percent added for likely condemnation settlement, court and other costs.

Joyner did the math on his adding machine and gasped: In all, he would have to budget more than $300,000 an acre. He doubted the results, called his chief financial officer to his desk, punched the numbers again and finally accepted the answer.


The gap in question is the funding that neither chamber of the Legislature has approved to up-front the construction of the tolled part of 540 that I mentioned last week. The House rejected the Senate's budget last night, which means the two chambers will go into negotiations that conceivably could result in funding being allocated, but since it was in neither budget to begin with, those chances are pretty slim.

I have news for Mr. Joyner: you're not building this freeway, or turnpike, or whatever-it-winds-up-as through virgin forests and untouched pristine fields. You're building it through the fastest-growing area of Wake County. Things tend to get a bit expensive under such circumstances. You mean to tell me that no right-of-way acquisition studies were completed until he picked up the newspaper one day and realized that developers (gasp!) were spending Benjamins like candy on Halloween to build in that part of the county? Well no kidding it's gonna be expensive! That comes with the territory, now doesn't it?

Between this, the I-40 Pavement Debacle, the Highway Trust Fund shenanigans, and God knows what other brilliant ideas transportation planners come up with in this state, it's a wonder any roads get built.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Niagara Falls

  Arguably the world's most famous waterfall, or rather a set of waterfalls, Niagara Falls may not need much of an introduction, as it is a very popular tourist attraction in both New York State and the Province of Ontario, a destination of plenty of honeymooning couples, vacationing families and college students out for a good time for a weekend. Niagara Falls is also the site of many daredevil activities over the years, such as tightrope walking and going over the falls in a barrel. It is always nice to have a bit of a refresher, of course. Niagara Falls is made up of two main waterfalls, American Falls (also known as Rainbow Falls), which is on the American side of the border and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), where the border between the United States and Canada crosses. There is also a smaller waterfall on the New York side of the border, which is Bridal Veil Falls. The height of the waterfalls are impressive, with Horseshoe Falls measuring at

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1