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Showing posts from March, 2008

It's not always a goofy hobby...

Recently, I have contributed photos to City View Magazine in Fayetteville. In their February/March issue, a few of my Carolina Crossroads photos were included on their story about odd small town names in North Carolina. I received a copy of the magazine yesterday, and I must admit I smiled as wide as a kid on Christmas Day when I saw my photos in print.

It's a small start, but it's very flattering to have a publication ask to use your work and also ask to do more work for them in the future.

Client 9 Welcomes you to New York

As some of you know, the governor's name was taken off of almost every welcome sign entering the State of New York when George Pataki became governor in 1995. Instances where the governor's name shows up on welcome signs today are extremely rare at best. As a result, there are few examples of disgraced and soon to be out of office Governor Eliot Spitzer showing up on the state welcome signs. As evidenced in the link below, this photo by C.C. Slater at PA 191's northern terminus over the Delaware River in Hancock, NY, may be the only instance of Spitzer's name showing up on a New York State welcome sign.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/otto-yamamoto/2235266645/

Carolina Bays Parkway could get an additional $85 million

Construction for the extension of the SC 31 - The Carolina Bays Parkway - may get a funding boost Wednesday when the State Infrastructure Bank seeks the approval of the South Carolina Joint Bond Review Committee.

If the $85 million grant is approved - the Parkway extension project will have $235 million of the estimated $331 million cost covered. Horry County is filling in some of the funding gap from a recently approved sales tax for highway construction.

The Bond Review Committee is not the final step in the grant approval process. In addition the grant needs to receive a green light from the Budget and Control Board.

The Parkway extension project will lengthen SC 31 4.2 miles from SC 544 to SC 707. It also includes the widening of SC 707 to four lanes to US 17.

Currently, the project is in the right-of-way acquisition phase.

Story: Myrtle Beach Sun News

Public apathetic about I-485 construction delays

For all the bluster made by local politicians about the NCDOT's decision to push back the completion of I-485 two years in addition to delaying the widening of the Interstate in Southern Mecklenburg County, one would think that the general public would have had an equally loud outcry about these two transportation issues.

Well, guess what...if you thought that...you were wrong.

Now I know, I am nearly two months behind in reporting this story...but it's still worth mentioning today.

At a January public hearing on the 2009-2015 NCDOT Draft Transportation Improvement Project List held in Charlotte, only four people showed up and not one spoke about the decision to delay Interstate 485. Furthermore, as of the January hearing date, the DOT had not received any letters or e-mail comments from the general public about the proposed pushback in construction. The only commentary that had been received at that point were from various politicians (which has been reported and commented on

Final piece of I-140 to see construction in 2012.

The final piece of Wilmington's Interstate 140 will see construction start in 2012. Cost? $300 million.

On January 31, NCDOT held a public information hearing on the route of the final segment of the bypass. The segment will run from I-140's current end at US 421 in New Hanover County to US 17 just north of NC 87 in Brunswick County. The completion of this segment will finish the entire Wilmington Bypass and will carry both Interstate 140 and US 17.

As a result of building the highway, the state will have to purchase the land of nine businesses and 16 residences for the freeway's right-of-way.

Story: $300 million bypass to begin 2012 ---WWAY-TV

Could Charlotte see HOT lanes?

Yes, I am blogging like crazy today. I'm catching up after a few busy weeks and besides I don't leave for the Hurricanes game until 5:45. So blog, clean and laundry. Oh, and I keep getting interrupted by watching the State/Duke game.

Anyways...

Could Charlotte see HOT Lanes by 2020? Well, according to a study done by the City of Charlotte, the NCDOT, and PB Associates - there are a few excellent locations for the Toll High Occupancy Vehicle (High Occupancy Toll) lanes in the Greater Charlotte Area.

Specifically, I-77 from Uptown Charlotte towards Iredell County and Charlotte appears to be the most likely choice for these lanes. And with reason, currently there is one free HOV lane in each direction on I-77 from the future I-485 interchange near Huntersville southwards to Uptown. The current HOV lanes begin and end near Brookshire Blvd.

Another possible choice is Independence Blvd. (US 74) east of Uptown. As the highway has been converted to an urban expressway, the DOT has…

Three highway projects key to Port of Wilmington (NC) growth

Interstate 140.

Interstate 74 and US 74 improvements.

Cape Fear Skyway.

What do all three of these projects have in common? Obviously, a number of things. But for the operators of the Port of Wilmington, the three highway infrastructure projects are key to the continued growth and expansion of North Carolina's largest port.

The Port facility currently handles an annual 350,000 trucks, and that number is expected to double to 700,000 annual truck volume by 2020. The Port is currently expanding their container handling facilities along with ongoing dredging of the Cape Fear River to handle larger vessels.

The three highway projects are important to the Port - which is currently accessed only by surface streets. The upgrading of US 74 and construction of I-74 will allow for quick freeway access to points West and Northwest - Charlotte and Greensboro. The I-140 project in addition to the Cape Fear Skyway will provided a timely bypass around Wilmington's surface street. The two p…

Story: SCDOT spent $1.5 million in lobbying over six years

Governor Mark Sanford has recently halted lobbying efforts for SCDOT in Washington. The practice which spent approximately $1.5 million from 2001-2007 was stopped by Sanford who claimed the government and the DOT shouldn't "...be in the business of spending money to lobby for more taxpayer money."

According to Land Line Magazine - a publication of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association - the $1.5 million figure is on the higher end of costs by state's that do lobby for funds from Washington. According to the magazine, South Carolina's lobbying budget is similar to Pennsylvania's.

For the full article, go here.

AAA Carolinas releases annual 20 worst bridges in the state list

Every February, AAA Carolinas releases their 20 worst bridges in North Carolina listing. The release always makes local media outlets and becomes topic of discussion on various talk radio programs and even transportation forums.

So without further hype, here are some highlights of the 20 worst in North Carolina:

1. Business I-40/85 bridge over South Buffalo Creek - Guilford County. This bridge, built in 1955, handles nearly 117,000 vehicles a day, and is currently not scheduled to be replaced. It should be noted, that the completion of the I-40 and I-85 bypass on the Greensboro Loop should reduce the amount of traffic on this bridge.

2. Business I-40 Bridge over Liberty Street in Winston-Salem. This bridge was also built in 1955, handles nearly 68,000 Vehicles per day and is scheduled to be replaced in 2013.

3. US 220 bridge over SR 1452 and Business US 220 in Guilford County. This is the youngest bridge on the list (built in 1968) and is not scheduled to be replaced or improved. Ab…

Rockingham County officials want US 220/NC 68 (Future I-73) Connector built now not later

Rockingham County officials are urging that a Guilford County segment of what will become I-73 be built as quickly as possible. The seven mile highway which will connect NC 68 and US 220 north of Greensboro is scheduled to open as early as 2015.

Rockingham County commissioners see the new highway as a key to economic growth in their county. The new road and eventual Interstate will be a key North-South freeway through the county linking it to the heavily traveled I-81 corridor in Roanoke and the soon to be opened (2009) Federal Express Hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO).

NCDOT officials would love to move the project higher up in the priority rankings, but the state is hampered by one key reason - federal highway money. Most of the funding for this project will come from the federal government and that has not been completely allocated yet.

Story: Now, Not Later: Pushing for the Hwy 68/220 Connection --WGHP
More detail: I-73 Segment Three - NC 68/US 220 Connector -Bob…