Skip to main content

NCDOT Changes Mind about I-40 Route through Greensboro

The FHWA has agreed to let NCDOT return I-40 to its original alignment through Greensboro's Death Valley. When the SW quadrant of the Loop was completed earlier this year and I-40 routed along the new highway, local residents complained about the noise, particularly truck noise, from the new highway. Many complained that NCDOT never told them it would be a freeway, as expressed in this paragraph from today's article in the Greensboro News & Record:
"Irate neighbors of the 7.7-mile, $122 million stretch of road said they had been surprised by the volume of truck traffic on what they understood would be a bypass more on the order of Bryan Boulevard."

NCDOT hopes the redesignation will mean most of the truck traffic will return to I-40’s initial route as soon as the state can prepare and install new signs. [Comment: Where did the old I-40 signs they just took down go? Couldn't they use them?] They feel that since I-73 is a fledgling route that currently does not go north beyond Greensboro, the Loop will have less traffic on it.

What this all will mean:

1. Changing the green I-40 Business signs back to the blue I-40 signs.
2. Re-labeling the exits along I-40 as Exit 212 (I-40/73) to Exit 227 (I-40/85).
3. Re-labeling the exits along I-73 as Exit 103 (I-73/40 interchange) to Exit 95 (I-73/U.S. 220 interchange) [Comment: Since I-73 shouldn't exit itself, Exit 95 should be for I-85 North].
4. Rerouting U.S. 421 to run concurrently with I-73 and parts of I-85.
5. Signs for the I-85 Business route and the I-85 exits will remain the same.

Story in the Winston-Salem Journal

Story in the Greensboro News & Record

Commentary:

I have always argued that the western part of the past and future I-40 should never have been given a business interstate designation since it's up to modern interstate standards. Given that the FHWA allowed the route east including Death Valley to be re-designated an interstate calls into question NCDOT's explanation of changing former interstates to business routes because they are not up to current interstate standards. If I-40 is to run on its old routing does it make sense to still sign that part also as Business 85? A better idea would be to remove that designation from the I-40 part and make the rest just US 29/70, or if you wanted an interstate, an I-x85 spur route.

This latest piece of news from NCDOT sounds familiar. NCDOT makes decision without apparently communicating clearly to people of importance (in this case very vocal citizens), NCDOT then has to re-do at least part of the project and who pays the extra cost? NC taxpayers, of course.

This decision also calls into question the reason behind building a Loop entirely around Greensboro. The point was constantly made during the southern part's construction that it had to be done to remove as much traffic as possible from the Death Valley traffic choke point. Now that doesn't seem as important as satisfying a few loud and critical citizens. Hopefully, smart travelers going west will still use the I-85 Loop then go north on US 220 to get around Death Valley and return to I-40. All the signs are to be changed by December.

Comments

Bob Malme said…
An additional story (and video) on WRAL.com pegs the cost of returning I-40 to its original alignment at $300,000.
See the link here:
http://www.wral.com/traffic/story/3550101/

An NCDOT official commenting on the Internet newsgroup misc.transport.road suggested another reason the I-40 routing was reconsidered, the loss of federal interstate maintenance funds. The funds go to help states repair interstate routes, but not interstate business routes. By putting I-40 back on its old alignment NCDOT regains money to help in any future road work along the old route (that they spent the summer repaving, don't know if federal funds can be claimed retroactively) while also getting money for the Urban Loop.

An editorial in the Greensboro News & Record on 9/17 cited positive feedback by some of the noise affected residents to the re-routing suggesting some signs have changed already. If anyone traveling through the Greensboro area has signage updates, we'd love to hear them.
Bob Malme said…
There's a good story confirming that money and not civic mindedness was the impetus behind the I-40 route change in today's (9/18) News & Observer.

The link is here:
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/ growth/traffic/story/1223303.html
Froggie said…
First off, if one's using the I-85 part of the loop, why on earth would they use US 220 to get back to I-40?

Second, the signs (i.e. I-40 going back to its original route) may work with out-of-town travelers who don't know any better, but regulars/locals/those-with-experience will still use the southern loop to bypass old 40/85 through Greensboro. Especially if the truckers perceive an advantage to remaining on the loop, they'll remain on the loop and everyone's (NCDOT and local residents) arguments for "reducing noise" will be rendered for naught.

(and serves 'em all right too IMO)

Popular posts from this blog

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

Former California State Route 190 at the bottom of Lake Success

East of the City of Porterville the alignment of California State Route 190 follows the Tule River watershed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  In modern times California State Route 190 east of Porterville climbs south of the Lake Success Reservoir towards Springville.  Much of the original alignment of California State Route 190 within the Lake Success Reservoir can still be hiked, especially in drier years.  Pictured above is the original alignment of California State Route 190 facing northward along the western shore of Lake Success.  Part 1; the history of California State Route 190 through Lake Success The corridor of California State Route 190 ("CA 190") east of Porterville to Springville follows the watershed of the Tule River.  The Tule River watershed between Porterville and Springville would emerge as a source of magnesite ore near the turn of the 20th Century.  The magnesite ore boom would lead to the development of a modern highway in the Porterville-Springville

US Route 299 and modern California State Route 299

US Route 299 connected US Route 101 near Arcata of Humboldt County east across the northern mountain ranges of California to US Route 395 in Alturas of Modoc County.  US Route 299 was the longest child route of US Route 99 and is the only major east/west highway across the northern counties of California.  US Route 299 was conceptualized as the earliest iteration of what is known as the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway.  The legacy of US Route 299 lives on today in the form of the 307 mile long California State Route 299.   Featured as the cover of this blog is the interchange of US Route 101 and US Route 299 north of Arcata which was completed as a segment of the Burns Freeway during 1956.   Part 1; the history of US Route 299 and California State Route 299 The development of the State Highways which comprised US Route 299 ("US 299") and later California State Route 299 ("CA 299") began with 1903 Legislative Chapter 366 which defined the general corridor of the Trinit