News Releases

7/22/2014: Operation Firecracker Yields Nearly 2,000 DWI Arrests

Operation Firecracker Yields Nearly 2,000 DWI Arrests

Posted 7/22/2014 11:18:21 AM

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program announced today that 1,929 DWI arrests were made during “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” which ran from June 27 through July 6.   “The 4th of July Holiday is a great time to celebrate the freedoms we have as Americans,” said Don Nail director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We thank our law enforcement partners for protecting our freedoms and keeping us safe by arresting those who make the decision to drink and drive.” The top five counties for DWI arrests during the 4th of July “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker” campaign include: • Wake County with 197 DWI arrests; • Guilford County with 141 DWI arrests; • Mecklenburg County with 105 DWI arrests; • Cumberland County with 88 DWI arrests; and • Robeson County with 86 DWI arrests. In addition to DWI arrests, local and state law enforcement officers issued 64,626 traffic and criminal citations statewide at 8,018 checking stations and patrols. They also issued 4,666 safety belt and 849 child passenger safety violations; 18,862 speeding violations; 278 work zone violations and 1,869 drug charges. In addition, they apprehended 1,565 fugitives from justice and recovered 108 stolen vehicles. For more information regarding “Booze It & Lose It” activities and county totals, contact Heather Jeffreys at (919) 707-2665 or visit the GHSP website. ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

7/18/2014: Motorists Shifted to New Lanes of I-440 West as Fortify Project Moves Forward

Motorists Shifted to New Lanes of I-440 West as Fortify Project Moves Forward

Posted 7/18/2014 1:44:50 PM

RALEIGH – The Fortify Project to rebuild sections of I-440 and I-40 in Raleigh took a significant step forward overnight Saturday, July 19. For the first time since the project started, motorists will get to drive on a section of newly constructed roadway. Crews shifted traffic on I-440 West between I-40 and the U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass from the two outside lanes to the two new inside lanes. The move allows crews to begin rebuilding the outside lanes of I-440 West. Drivers familiar with this part of the Fortify work zone will notice it means a shift farther to the left than they currently make. To promote safety in this new traffic pattern, motorists should pay close attention when preparing to exit I-440 West in the work zone. In order to leave the interstate, they must cross over the outside lanes and the shoulder to access the Poole Road and U.S. 64/264 exits. The outside lanes and shoulder will be closed to through traffic during construction. Another difference drivers will notice is the position of the concrete barrier walls, which help protect the construction workers actively engaged with the project. In this traffic pattern, the barrier walls will line both sides of I-440 West, and there will be essentially no shoulders, with the exception of the areas by the Poole Road and U.S. 64/264 exits. Because there is limited space, drivers experiencing car trouble should make every effort to get to the next exit, where there is space to pull over and safely get out of the vehicle. If a vehicle breaks down in a travel lane and cannot be moved, the driver should stay inside the vehicle, turn on the flashers, and if a cell phone is available, call 911. Getting out of the car would mean stepping into the travel lane and possibly into the path of other vehicles. Law enforcement, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Assistance Patrols, the contracted towing company and contractor employees are trained to look for distressed motorists and quickly come to their aid. In addition, NCDOT employees who monitor the traffic cameras along the project site will alert law enforcement and other first responders as soon as they spot an issue. As with many traffic pattern changes, this shift will take some time for drivers to get used to, and NCDOT asks motorists to have patience as they learn the new pattern. The department also urges drivers to slow down, use caution and obey the speed limit of 55 mph through the work zone. Project Update for Other Areas While work on I-440 West now shifts to rebuilding the two outside lanes, progress continues on I-440 East. Traffic on the east side is expected to shift to the two inside lanes in August. The entire I-440 rebuild in this initial phase of the Fortify project is anticipated to be complete later this year. Then, work on the larger I-40 section of the project will gear up. Bridge widening and shoulder preparation work along I-40 has been under way for several months in anticipation of that move. Project Background The Fortify project includes the removal and replacement of pavement on 11.5 miles of interstate. That covers I-40 between the I-440/U.S. 1 interchange in Cary and the I-440 split in southwest Raleigh, and I-440 between the split and U.S. 64/264. A chemical reaction in the 40-year-old substructure of the roadway is causing it to crumble, and in turn, is damaging the road. That has required constant repairs, and led to concerns of ongoing major travel disruptions along one of the state’s busiest stretches of highway. The initial phase is focused on the I-440 section. During the I-40 phase, traffic in both directions will be in a three-lane pattern. That is expected to start late this year or in early 2015, with traffic expected to be in its final pattern in the fall of 2016. Commuter Options Because of the expected traffic impact of the project, NCDOT has partnered with Go Triangle, Triangle Transit and Capital Area Transit to promote options to help motorists avoid traveling through the work zones at peak travel times. A Fortify website provides comprehensive information, including alternate transit options, project maps and links to live traffic cameras. Employers can also access online resources to help them develop and implement a flexible work program. The site includes links to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to stay engaged with NCDOT and other commuters. Triangle Transit has created new commuting options that include express bus service from Johnston County (JCX) and additional service from eastern Wake County. There is also a new park and ride lot at the Wal-Mart at the Cleveland Crossings Shopping Center at I-40 and N.C. 42 for catching the JCX or meeting with carpoolers and vanpoolers to share a ride. To learn more about finding a carpool or vanpool, visit www.sharetheridenc.org. More new routes, including from Cary through west Raleigh and N.C. State University into downtown Raleigh, as well as a route from Fuquay-Varina into Raleigh are scheduled to begin late this year in anticipation of the project shift to I-40. Bus On Shoulder System (BOSS) is now active along I-40 from Raleigh to Exit 312 for N.C. 42. BOSS enables busses on designated bus routes to travel in the shoulder of the interstate as long as traffic in travel lanes is moving at speeds lower than 35 miles per hour. *** NCDOT ***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

7/8/2014: Contract Awarded for Beach Nourishment Work on N.C. 12 near Rodanthe

Contract Awarded for Beach Nourishment Work on N.C. 12 near Rodanthe

Posted 7/8/2014 2:57:25 PM

RALEIGH — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $20.3 million contract to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., LLC of Oak Brook, Ill. for the beach nourishment project north of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island to protect this vulnerable stretch of N.C.12. The Corps of Engineers is administering the contract for the N.C. Department of Transportation. The contractor will use two dredges to expedite the project, which is expected to be completed around mid-September, weather permitting. “I want to thank all of the agencies involved in completing the required process to begin this vitally important repair work,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “Protecting our coastal roadways through renourishment projects like this one is necessary for the safety of our citizens and visitors, to support our tourism industry and to keep our residents connected to jobs, education and healthcare.” The project is designed to provide several years of protection before a long-term project is completed for the stretch of N.C. 12 locally known as the “S-Curves” where storms, including Hurricane Sandy, resulted in severe beach erosion along the road in Dare County. Plans include dredging sand from an identified sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean to restore the beach protecting N.C. 12 in the location shown on this map. “We offer sincere thanks to Secretary Tata and Governor McCrory for their steadfast support throughout this process,’ said Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners Warren Judge.  “In addition, we thank the men and women of NCDOT for all they do for Dare County each and every day.” The schedule for the project is very dependent on weather and all work going smoothly. The approximate schedule is as follows: By July 16, preliminary work is expected to be completed and installation of the pipeline from the sand source in the ocean onto the beach begins.The first dredge is scheduled to be on site and working around July 16.The second dredge is currently scheduled to arrive the first week in August and will help accelerate work.The project could be complete by mid-September.Once the project is complete, the contractor will begin de-mobilizing its equipment, which will take several weeks. The Federal Highway Administration approved Hurricane Sandy emergency relief funds to pay for this project. While this work is taking place, NCDOT is considering two bridge alternatives as long-term solutions for maintaining access along N.C. 12 to the communities of Hatteras Island. They include a 2.3-mile bridge within the existing easement of N.C. 12, and a 2.6-mile bridge that extends into the Pamlico Sound. NCDOT held public meetings in January in Ocracoke, Rodanthe, Buxton and Manteo to present the two alternatives and gather feedback. The project is in the planning phase, and a preferred alternative is expected to be selected later this summer, with a contract awarded in the fall or early winter of 2014. This is the second time the beach nourishment project has been advertised for bids. The project was previously advertised in December 2013. Bids were opened in January; however, only one bid was received due to the large amount of dredging work underway at the time in the northeast, and it was not responsive to the advertisement. Therefore, a contract could not be awarded. In addition to this project, NCDOT is also conducting feasibility studies for projects to protect N.C. 12 south of Rodanthe at identified “hot spots” on southern Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island in Hyde County. The feasibility studies are expected to be complete this fall. More information can be found on the N.C. 12 webpage. For more information on NCDOT’s efforts to strengthen N.C. 12 in the Outer Banks, visit the N.C. 12 webpage, “like” the N.C. 12 Facebook page and follow the N.C. 12 Twitter account. ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

6/26/2014: NCDOT Signs Contract to Provide Reliable Travel Time Along Heavily Congested I-77

NCDOT Signs Contract to Provide Reliable Travel Time Along Heavily Congested I-77

Posted 6/26/2014 3:10:40 PM

CHARLOTTE – The N.C. Department of Transportation today signed an agreement with Cintra for a public-private-partnership (P3) contract to improve the traffic flow along 26 miles of I-77 in the Charlotte area, one of the most congested roadways in the state. The P3 enables NCDOT to address a critical need and provide immediate travel time reliability along I-77 from Uptown Charlotte to the Lake Norman area that could otherwise not be completed with limited funds. The state will invest about $88 million dollars and Cintra will secure the remainder of the $655 million to design, build, operate and maintain the managed lanes project in exchange for toll revenue generated from the lanes. This public-private partnership will complete the project within four years instead of the estimated 20 years it would take to secure enough state funding to move forward. “This project provides an innovative and comprehensive solution to existing and future congestion in this corridor,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “Utilizing the public-private partnership concept is allowing us to improve nearly 26 miles of I-77 in just a few years, not in decades. This expansion will provide an option for reliable travel time while addressing long-term mobility concerns.” Managed Lanes Managed lanes give drivers a choice to pay a toll to enter and exit the lanes at various points to avoid congestion, or continue using general-purpose lanes for free.  Managed lanes also help ease congestion on the free, general-purpose lanes for other drivers.  The I-77 project includes converting the current High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, which already exist along I-77, and adding capacity to the roadway. The existing HOV lanes and new lanes will be High Occupancy managed lanes that allow free use for eligible carpoolers (three passengers or greater), buses and motorcyclists, while allowing other drivers to pay a toll to use those lanes. Tolls will vary during the day and night to manage the number of vehicles in the lanes and help ensure free-flowing traffic even during morning and evening rush hours. “No toll rates have been set for the I-77 managed lanes. As required by contract, Cintra will conduct public hearings as part of developing toll rates that drivers can choose to pay to avoid congestion, and ultimately, the market will drive those rates,” said NCDOT Director of Technical Services Rodger Rochelle.Transparent and Thorough Review Over the past two years, NCDOT completed a transparent and thorough due diligence process to ensure the I-77 managed lanes project was the most efficient and effective way to address the corridor’s major congestion issues. That process included more than a dozen public hearings, neighborhood meetings and workshops; as well as more than 40 meetings with mayors, town and city leaders, officials and staff from the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), local legislators, business forums and the Lake Norman Transportation Commission. NCDOT posted the detailed documents related to the bidding process online beginning in March of 2013, including each updated draft of the proposed contract for public review.  The State Treasurer's Office reviewed the agreement and the Local Government Commission (that includes the State Treasurer, State Auditor, Secretary of State and Secretary of Revenue) approved a resolution to allow the project to move forward. In accordance with state law, NCDOT submitted reports to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee, Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations and the Chairs of the Transportation Appropriation Committees, beginning in April 2014. Numerous lenders, USDOT TIFIA office and other stakeholders have reviewed and approved the contract and will continue to review documents until financial close. A number of attorneys, including the NC Attorney General’s Office, have also reviewed the documents and all issued favorable legal opinions for the I-77 project as part of the due diligence process. Next Steps Moving forward, design, permitting and other preconstruction activities will begin, and additional public meetings will be scheduled to discuss the project’s toll rates and methodology. NCDOT expects Cintra to secure the funding by the end of this year. Design and construction are anticipated to take 3.5 years, with completion scheduled for 2018. Project Details The project will add capacity to I-77 between Brookshire Freeway (Exit 11) in Charlotte and N.C. 150 (Exit 36) in Iredell County. This portion of the I-77 corridor already experiences significant congestion, and projections show a 2-to-3 percent increase in traffic volume is expected every year through 2030. Improvements will also include a flyover bridge to provide the managed lanes direct access from I-77 to I-277, and the widening of southbound I-77 lanes and shoulders in some areas. The added lanes will increase capacity through the corridor, improve travel time reliability, and better manage traffic flow along I-77. Cintra has more than four decades of experience as a private developer of transportation projects around the world. Its current projects include locations in Texas, Indiana and Illinois, as well as in Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Ireland and Australia.  ***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution

View on NCDOT.gov

6/25/2014: Test Runs Reveal Hatteras Channel Still Too Narrow For Ferries

Test Runs Reveal Hatteras Channel Still Too Narrow For Ferries

Posted 6/25/2014 11:40:29 AM

(MANNS HARBOR) - After conducting test runs in the traditional Hatteras Inlet ferry channel Monday, NCDOT's Ferry Division announced today that the channel is still unsafe for ferry operations. As a result, Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry service will continue to run the "alternate" route until more dredging can be completed and conditions in the channel improve. "We have tested that channel with several boats and several captains, and they all came back with the same results", said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "The channel is extremely narrow, and too shallow in several spots. Safety is always our top priority, and the traditional Hatteras Inlet channel simply isn't safe to operate." The Ferry Division has been operating on the alternate route since December, when continued shoaling in the inlet made the traditional route unnavigable. The alternate route is about 20 minutes longer than the traditional route. Currently, the Hatteras-Ocracoke route is on its summer schedule, with 36 daily departures from each side. During the week of June 17-23, the route carried 8,976 vehicles and 26,703 passengers. The US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the federally-controlled portion of the ferry channel, and recently spent more than three weeks working on the channel with the side caster dredge M/V Merritt. The Ferry Division will continue working with the Corps of Engineers to find solutions to the shoaling issues in Hatteras Inlet.***NCDOT***
Release Image
Click this image to view at original resolution
[M/V Merritt]
View on NCDOT.gov