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

New River Gorge National River Area To Become A National Park

Great news for those that enjoy National Parks, West Virginia's New River Gorge Region, or West Virginia tourism.  Included within the Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed by President Trump last night (December 27th) is the New River Gorge Park and Preserve Designation Act.   The act will designate the existing New River National River and over 72,000 acres of land within it as a National Park and Preserve. The New River Gorge Bridge will continue to be the centerpiece of the new New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. (Adam Prince, 2007) The river and surrounding land, which was added to the National Park System in 1978, will be our 63rd National Park.   The designation preserves over 7,000 acres as a National Park.  This area will not allow any hunting.  The remaining 65,000 acres of the existing park will be designated as a preserve allowing hunting and fishing. The main attractions to the New River Gorge - whitewater rafting, camping, hiking, mountain bikin

Douglas Memorial Bridge; the ruins of US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway over the Klamath River

Near the village of Klamath in southern Del Norte County, California sits the ruins of Douglas Memorial Bridge which once carried US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway over the Klamath River.  The Douglas Memorial Bridge was a arch concrete span which once crossed the Klamath River.  The Douglas Memorial Bridge was noted for it's unique grizzly bear statues which still adorn the remains of the structure.  Completed in 1926 the Douglas Memorial Bridge was the original alignment of US Route 101 ("US 101") and stood until it was destroyed by the Christmas Floods of 1964.  The Douglas Memorial Bridge is named in honor of G.H. Douglas who was a Assemblyman of the First District of California.  Below the Douglas Memorial Bridge can be seen during it's prime (courtesy bridgehunter ).  Part 1; the history of the Douglas Memorial Bridge The history of what would become US 101/Redwood Highway begins with the approval of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act .  The First Stat

The Great PA 48 Clearance Sale

It's not often that any department of transportation sells land it purchased.  They are usually in the business of acquiring land for right-of-way.  But in 1982, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation did exactly that.  Offering to buyers land it purchased just 15 years earlier for the never-built Route 48 Expressway. Background: The sale was a result of the 1970s cash crunch the PennDOT experienced.  Many projects were cut back, shelved, or eliminated.  The 'New 48', or the North-South Parkway, which was touted for nearly 20 years as a connection from the industrial Mon Valley to the Turnpike and Monroeville was one of the casualties. In the mid-late 1960s, movement to construct the new highway began with targeting a two-mile stretch of highway from the Route 48 intersection at Lincoln Way in White Oak to US 30 in North Versailles.  The plan was then to continue the highway northwards to Monroeville.  Extension south across the Youghiogheny River and to PA 51 would