Have you heard that the N.C. Department of Transportation plans to turn part of Capital Boulevard into a freeway? How about the Glenwood Avenue freeway near Brier Creek, or the new interchange on the Beltline at Ridge Road?
You’ll have a chance to learn about these and several other big highway projects in Wake County at an open house in Raleigh next week designed to give Wake County residents a chance to learn about what NCDOT has in the works here.
It’s an experiment of sorts to try to reach people who may miss the standard opportunities for the public to learn about road construction and weigh in. NCDOT planners say they can spend years studying and designing a road project, with all the required public hearings and notifications, only to have people say, “How come I’m just learning about this?”
Joey Hopkins, the division engineer who is hosting the event, mentioned it at a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization last month, just after a group of residents spoke against the planned widening of Falls of Neuse Road north of Interstate 540. The residents complained that they had only learned about the widening project this year, even though the Raleigh City Council asked NCDOT to make it a priority in 2013.
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“The reality is we’re not reaching people,” Hopkins said.
The open house will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, at N.C. State University’s McKimmon Center at 1101 Gorman St. in Raleigh. In addition to the widening of Falls of Neuse Road, NCDOT representatives will answer questions and field comments on the following projects:
▪ The widening of I-40 from the Raleigh Beltline to N.C. 42 in Johnston County and the rebuilding of the N.C. 42 interchange.
▪ Improvements to the interchange of the Beltline and Wake Forest Road.
▪ A new interchange for the Beltline at Ridge Road.
▪ The widening and reconfiguring of several interchanges on the Beltline between Wade Avenue in Raleigh and I-40 in Cary.
▪ The conversion of Capital Boulevard/U.S. 1 into a freeway from I-540 to north of Durant Road in Raleigh.
▪ The conversion of Glenwood Avenue/U.S. 70 to a freeway from I-540 to just west of T.W. Alexander Drive. The freeway would continue five miles into Durham and tie in to the East End Connector that’s now under construction.
▪ Building an underpass to carry Blue Ridge Road under Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.
▪ Extending N.C. 540 (the Triangle Expressway) from Holly Springs east to Interstate 40 and U.S. 64/264 near Knightdale.