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

Kancamagus Highway (NH 112 through the White Mountains of New Hampshire)

The Kancamagus Highway is a portion of NH 112 spanning from Conway to Lincoln through the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire. Locally known as the "Kanc", the 34.5-mile drive is a recognized National Scenic Byway, offering travelers an abundance of history and spectacular beauty in addition to being considered one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the world. The road opened up one of the last unconquered wilderness areas in New Hampshire, a region that the 1850 state Gazetteer called "unfit for human habitation." The two lane highway links the valleys of the Merrimack, Pemigewasset and Saco rivers, crossing over Kancamagus Pass at 2,855 feet in elevation, winding through some of the most difficult and gorgeous terrain in the state. A number of scenic vistas are found along the way offering remarkable views of the surrounding White Mountains, Swift River, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge. You will not find services through much of the drive, until you get to

Ghost Town Tuesday; Transylvania, Louisiana

Back in 2014 I found myself returning home to Florida from Hot Springs National Park.  While passing through East Carroll Parish in Louisiana on US Route 65 I noticed an abandoned school on the side of the highway in a community called Transylvania. Supposedly Transylvania was founded in the early 19th century and was named after the University of the same name in Kentucky.  Supposedly Transylvania has about 700 residents according to the 2000 Census but you wouldn't know it from the total lack of occupied structures.  The earliest map reference I can find showing Transylvania present in East Carroll Parish is from 1878. 1878 Louisiana State Map I really can't find too much substantive information regarding the Transylvania Elementary School but the construction is likely Pre-World War II.  Supposedly the Transylvania Elementary School was abandoned in the late 20th Century and was open to vandals until the property was purchased in 2014. Article Regarding the Transy

I-93 Sign Replacement Project Update

Decided to beat the Memorial Day rush and traveled up I-93 north of Boston Wednesday afternoon to check out the progress of the two sign replacement projects. Based on webcam images, I new some signs had been replaced at the southern and northern end of the Somerville to Exit 38 segment. Turns out signage has been updated northbound for Exit 28 (MA 28/38), the first sign for Exit 31 (MA 16) (I guess taking advantage of MassDOT closing I-93 between Exits 20 and 28 for Big Dig Tunnel maintenance a couple nights a month) and for Exits 34 to 38. A photographic summary starts with the first re-signed exit: This is the second overhead assembly. The signs are mounted on the previously existing overhead supports that go back to the opening of the lower and upper deck portions of I-93 in the early 1970's. I don't know about using the left hand side simply for an auxiliary sign for the exit, but there isn't much room to place it elsewhere. The next interchange that  has had