NCDOT was gracious to send me their plans of the proposed NC 68/US 220 Connector that will one day carry Interstate 73. The blog's Bob Malme also attended tonight's public workshop and was able to get additional details on the project and will be included below.
First, the entire project is 13 miles in length and will consist of three segments. The connector, which will be built totally on a new alignment, is approximately 8.5 miles in length and will be built to Interstate standards and a 70 mph design speed. Previously, it was thought that the road would be built just short of Interstate grade and upgrades made over time, but that is no longer the case.
The Connector itself is broken down into two sections (A & B). Going west(South I-73) to east (North I-73), there will be interchanges at NC 68, NC 150 in Summerfield and US 220.
Under the original plan, Interstate 73 was to follow NC 68 South to Interstate 40. But those plans have changed, I-73 will briefly bump NC 68 before turning south and east to connect with Bryan Blvd. near Piedmont-Triad International Airport. From there, I-73 will follow Bryan Blvd. until joining the Greensboro Urban Loop/I-840.
The change to the routing of I-73 has drastically changed how I-73 intersects NC 68. The new plans have the NC 68/I-73 interchange that will include flyovers that will carry I-73 South traffic over NC 68 as it heads towards Bryan Blvd.
Bob, who was able to see much larger versions of the plans in person, explains, "[I-73] from Bryan Blvd. will meet NC 68 south of the Connector, but they probably won't run together more than half a mile northbound and less southbound where a flyover ramp will take I-73 over NC 68 in the vicinity of today's Sedgefield Road intersection and have it merge about a 1/4 mile further south. The part of NC 68 that will be I-73 and the Connector will be built to 70 MPH/Interstate standards with 2 lanes in each direction."
Figure 1. The I-73 Connector tie in with NC 68. I-73 North will run left to right. (Larger pdf file accessible here.)
Figure 2. The I-73 Connector east of NC 68. I-73 North will run left to right. (Larger pdf file accessible here.)
Figure 3. The I-73 Connector continues east towards US 220. I-73 North will run left to right. (Larger pdf file accessible here.)
The connector ends at a partial interchange with US 220 just south of the Haw River. Bob describes the partial interchange, "The interchange will feature a flyover for US 220 South which will go over the river and I-73 as it turns right onto the Connector, there will be no access from US 220 North to I-73 South, I-73 North will just meet 220 on its current path."
Figure 4. After a diamond interchange with NC 150, the connector ends with a partial interchange with US 220 as I-73 turns north. (Larger pdf file accessible here.)
From there, Section C of the project begins. Section C will build a four lane limited access highway northwards paralleling the current two lane US 220. The project length is 4.5 miles and is currently built to a 60 mph design speed. According to Bob's discussions with Section C project engineers this evening, "Since no federal money is [currently] involved, it will be built as initially as a 60 MPH speed limited access highway, with interchanges for NC 65 and US 158 (which already exists) and NC 68 at the northern end (could not tell if you could access 68 from north I-73). They hope to get federal funds once the Connector construction is underway in 2014 to upgrade the road to interstate status by the time the Connector is finished around 2017."
Construction on the connector is scheduled to begin in 2014 with completion by 2017.
For more details:
Residents can review N.C. 68 connector plan ---Greensboro News&Record
Interstate 73 Progress Page - Sections 2 & 3 ---Bob Malme