Skip to main content

NCTA narrows possible alignments on TriEx; but an endangered mussel may change route in Garner

Last week, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority eliminated three of the possible alternative routings for the southeastern extension of the Triangle Expressway.  The elimination of the Yellow, Purple, and Blue options come as a relief to residents of Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina.  However, the dwarf wedge mussel - an endangered species - may alter the TriEx through Garner compared to the widely supported route proposal of 20 years.

Where the Orange Corridor, which has been on the books as the planned routing of the Southern Wake Expressway since the 1990's, crosses Swift Creek is near locations where the endangered mussel has been found.  The second option, known as the Red Corridor, crosses Swift Creek further north and the dwarf wedge mussel has not been known to habitat that section of the creek.

Even though the Orange Corridor has been the "protected corridor" for nearly 20 years, protected meaning that commercial and residential development has been limited on the prospective right of way, federal regulations require that other corridors be studied.

The Red Corridor would run further to the north and have a greater impact on existing homes, businesses, and planned development.  Garner leaders fear that the Red Corridor would cut the town in half.

This isn't the first time that the dwarf red mussel has impacted highways in North Carolina, specifically in the greater Raleigh area.  The US 70 Clayton Bypass was redesigned over Swift Creek and delayed a number of years on mitigation issues for the endangered mussel.  100 foot buffer zones were created to prevent environmental damage from chemical and oil sediment runoff into Swift Creek.

The concern over the Red Corridor and its possible impact on the town prompted Garner officials to hold a town hall meeting this evening in which a capacity crowd was expected.

The NCTA expects a route to be finalized by 2012.

Story Links:
Highway may divide Garner to protect mussels ---Raleigh News & Observer
Expressway route options narrow ---Raleigh News & Observer

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Check the box: Interstate 495 to 87 conversion administratively approved

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials have recently approved North Carolina's application to remove the short-lived Interstate 495 and future I-495 from Raleigh to Rocky Mount.  This administrative move most likely will result in North Carolina signing Interstate 87 and Future I-87 on the entire corridor in the near future.

Approved in 2013, Interstate 495 was first signed in 2014 along US 64 from Interstate 440 in Raleigh to Interstate 540 in Knightdale.  The remaining segment of highway to Rocky Mount was signed as Future Interstate 495.  However, in 2016, North Carolina's congressional legislators were able to get language in the 2015 FAST ACT designating the US 64/US 13/US 17 corridor from Raleigh to Norfolk as an Interstate.  In 2016, the FHWA and AASHTO designated this entire corridor (including the existing Interstate and Future 495) as Interstate 87.  (NCDOT had applied for Interstate 89 along this route.)

It is currently unknown when t…

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

Starrucca Viaduct

Even older than the Tunkhannock Viaduct is the Starrucca Viaduct, built in 1848. Located in the far northeastern Pennsylvania borough of Lanesboro, this impressive bridge carried the New York and Erie Railroad over a valley as well as the Starrucca Creek and is currently the oldest stone arch railroad in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1). An engineering marvel of its time, and even in today's world, the 1080 foot length, 100 foot height and 25 foot width (2) of the viaduct is simply spectacular. Using local materials such as Pennsylvania bluestone, the Starrucca Viaduct has stood the test of time.With a price estimated at $325,000 in 1848 dollars, the bridge was one of the largest and costliest stone arch railroad bridges built in America at its time (3) . However, the very material that made it expensive to build gave the Starrucca Viaduct much durabilitycompared to other viaducts built in that era.

I've happened to check out the Starrucca Viaduct on a few occasions sin…