I-3306A: I-40 Widening - Orange County
I-3306A: I-40 Widening - Orange County
The N.C. Department of Transportation is proposing the widening of 11.4 miles of I-40 between I-85 and the Durham County Line in Orange County. The interstate would be widened by one lane in each direction to bring the highway up to three lanes each way, improving traffic flow along that corridor and helping relieve heavy congestion that develops during commuter times. The project would also improve the N.C. 86 exit and sections of that highway for several hundred feet both north and south of the interchange.
The purpose of the proposed project is to relieve peak hour congestion on this facility such that a level of service (LOS) D or better can be maintained for the 2040 build condition. Other desired outcomes would be to improve the traffic flow and continuity between the existing eight-lane section at the beginning of the project (I-85) and the six-lane section at the end of the project (Durham County Line).
Improving travel conditions on I-40 to a Level of Service “D” or better throughout this portion of the freeway from I-85 to the Durham County Line, will have a direct and positive impact on traffic flow and continuity experienced by the public using this corridor. Daily commuting between points west of I-85 and US 15-501 should also experience fewer delays.
The proposed project involves widening an 11.4-mile segment of I-40 in Orange County from the I-85/I-40 interchange to the Durham County line. Improvements would include adding an additional travel lane in each direction, bringing the total number of lanes from four to six. The existing 46-foot median will be reduced to 22 feet in order to accommodate the additional lanes and a concrete median barrier will be added. The existing 10-foot paved outside shoulders will be widened to 12 feet. Improvements to interchange areas are also being considered to accommodate future traffic demands.
Two options were proposed at the N.C. 86 interchange.
Option 4A (One Way Pair) provides a one-direction, two-lane realignment of Eubanks Road through a portion of the Northwoods neighborhood that would intersect N.C. 86 opposite Perkins Road. The realigned portion of Eubanks Road would accommodate traffic traveling from Eubanks Road to NC 86. Access to Eubanks Road from NC 86 would be provided at an intersection near the existing Eubanks Road/NC 86 intersection.
Option 4B (Reduced Conflict Intersection) provides a Reduced Conflict Intersection design concept, also referred to as a superstreet design, at Eubanks Road and Perkins Road. Under this concept, left turns out of Eubanks Road onto N.C. 86 would be prohibited. Motorists desiring to travel north on N.C. 86 from Eubanks Road would turn right (south) on N.C. 86 and turn north on N.C. 86 at a U-turn bulb-out located near Perkins Road. All other traffic movements (Right-in, Right-out, and Left-in) would be provided at the intersection of Eubanks Road and N.C. 86 near that existing intersection.
NCDOT reviewed several options to address traffic issues at the N.C. 86 interchange, specifically between the intersection of the I-40 eastbound ramps and N.C. 86 and Perkins Drive. Two options (4A and 4B) were developed as preliminary designs and presented to the public for comment at the January 24, 2019 public meeting. Both options are presented on the public meeting maps (see maps below).
NCDOT recommends option 4B (Reduced Conflict Intersection or superstreet design) for final design and construction. Option 4B represents the only viable option to accommodate the anticipated traffic in the design year while minimizing impacts to neighborhoods and businesses. Additionally, local officials and the public overwhelmingly preferred option 4B. It is understood that revisions to the proposed design are desired by the public and local officials to make the project more appealing and less disruptive. To that end, NCDOT will continue to coordinate with the public and local officials during final design to consider their concerns in more detail and incorporate suggestions into the final design as appropriate.
Recent traffic studies confirm that while the Reduced Conflict Intersection (RCI) configuration at this location will be necessary before the design year 2040, the existing intersection configuration will operate adequately for a few years. Therefore, the RCI component of the proposed improvements (including the restriction of left turn movements out of Eubanks Road) will be delayed until the year 2025, at which time NCDOT will re-evaluate and construct the necessary intersection improvements. The other roadway improvements proposed at the N.C. 86 Interchange, including the addition of an exit loop in the northwest quadrant and the construction of a slip ramp from the eastbound exit ramp onto Eubanks Road, will be constructed with the I-40 widening project, I-3306A, in accordance with the STIP schedule.
NCDOT is currently working to finalize the preliminary noise analysis materials for posting to the project website. More information will be available in the next few weeks concerning recommended noise abatement measures along the project. We appreciate your patience while we work through the details of this very important transportation project.
The first public meeting was held in June 2014.
The second public meeting was held on Thursday, January 24, 2019.
Public Meeting Maps:
The project is included in the draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The project description in the STIP calls for widening I-40 from I-85 to the Durham County line to a 6-lane facility. The first public meeting for the project was held on June 10, 2014, during which the project development process and proposed improvements were introduced to the public. Project studies were then suspended while transportation funding priorities were reviewed. At this time the project is funded in the STIP and project studies have resumed.
The proposed project involves federal funds and will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA requires agencies seeking federal funds to identify a purpose and need for the project, review and disclose the human and environmental effects of the proposed project alternatives, allow the public an opportunity to comment throughout, and prepare an environmental report. To accomplish those requirements, a Public Meeting will be held on January 24, 2019 to review project proposals with the public. A Federal Categorical Exclusion environmental document will be prepared and is anticipated to be completed in March 2019. Right of Way acquisition is scheduled for 2020 and construction in 2021.
PROJECT CONTACT INFORMATION
NCDOT Project Management Unit
1595 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1595
RESOURCES FOR PROPERTY OWNERS
Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.