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NCDOT Releases Construction Project Rankings

From an WRAL.com story tonight: http://www.wral.com/traffic/story/7087906/

NCDOT, ahead of its public meetings on Monday, has released its rankings of state highway projects, both statewide, and by division, for two different categories: highway and non-highway and for highways using three different components: Safety, Mobility, and (Infrastructure) Health, and three tiers: Statewide, Regional, and Subregional. These in turn are broken down into many 'sub-modes' such as pavement rehabilitation, highway construction, etc. At this time all projects are listed even if they are not ultimately going to be paid for by the state and included in the state TIP. The document is available in the link above, and here:
http://www.ncdot.org/performance/reform/documents/

The new rankings are part of a process to remove politics from determining what highway projects are chosen. The highest ranked project according to Mobility is the paving of Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti's driveway (just kidding). Actually, the highest ranked mobility project regionally is: the widening of NC 54 in Durham from I-40 to NC 55. While Statewide its widening I-85 in Davidson County. For Safety the top ranked score Regionally is the upgrading of NC 65 from Germantown to the Virginia state line in Stokes County. Statewide the top safety project is upgrading NC 107 in Jackson County. For Infrastructure Health regionally its replacing a bridge, but not the bridge you're probably thinking of. This is the US 17 Business bridge over the Perquimans River in Perquimans County. Statewide its the widening and modernizing of NC 11 in Duplin and Lenoir County.

Breaking it down by Division, particularly Division 5 which includes Wake and Durham Counties the top regional project is, as stated before, the widening of NC 54. The repaving of I-440 also gets top ranking in the pavement subcategory. The top state highway project is the widening of US 1/64 from 6 to 8 lanes from I-40 to Lake Wheeler Road (while removing the existing concrete layer, apparently another pavement problem has cropped up?). The 'high priority' East End Connector project in Durham is not even listed, yet alone ranked. This may mean it has just been pushed back to after FY 2012 (July 2011) when this system (only listing projects that can be completed within 5 years or by 2016) is supposed to start.

Since the document is long (452 pages) I, for now, concentrated on I-73/74 projects. At the division level most are ranked high, not a similar case for all projects though at the state level. The upgrading of US 74 east of NC 41 to west of Whiteville is given a ranking of 8 in Division 6, however it's No. 200 statewide. In Division 7 and 8 the upgrading of I-73 and I-73/74 to interstate standards is ranked 3rd under infrastructure health in the modernization sub-mode. The Number 1 statewide mobility highway project in Division 7 is to reconstruct the I-74/US 311 interchange with NC 68 in High Point. Number 2 is to build the connector for I-73 between NC 68 and Bryan Blvd. by the airport interchange (3rd statewide). Number 7 is the connector between I-73 and the W-S Beltway (I-74). In Division 8 the number 2 Infrastructure project in the Highway Misc. category is to upgrade signage along I-73 from Ellerbe to Asheboro to interstate standards (this is ranked 3rd at the state level). Upgrading US 220 through Asheboro, scheduled to start this year is ranked number 2 in statewide modernization projects for Division 8, but 218th statewide. Number 3 is the long put-off shoulder widening project from Steeds to Emery. Upgrading US 52 north of Winston-Salem to Interstate standards is ranked No. 2 for Modernization in Division 9. The upgrading of US 74 between Laurinburg and Rockingham is only ranked 139th statewide. The US 74 Rockingham Bypass is 128th.

Comment: Since the document is long, and ranks many projects using different guidelines, then breaking them down into categories, then subcategories, etc., though probably necessary to determine a project rank, it is going to make it more difficult for the general public to understand what a ranking means. Feel free to browse the document on your own and see how your favorite project is ranked and whether you think its number is accurate.

Comments

John said…
The ranking system is very complicated, so much so that even the people I work with don't understand how certain projects were ranked where they were on the list. Is that deliberate so they can "hide" the political influence, or is it necessary? Again, not even my coworkers know; the specific criteria that create the rankings have not been released even to our office.
Fantastic post, project ranking is very important for contractors and your post is very beneficial for readers.

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