Wake County

DOT, other groups ask for public’s input for NC 98 study

N.C. 50 north of Raleigh, seen from the N.C. 98 overpass looking south, is being studied. JOHN ROTTET - jrottet@newsobserver.com
N.C. 50 north of Raleigh, seen from the N.C. 98 overpass looking south, is being studied. JOHN ROTTET - jrottet@newsobserver.com JOHN ROTTET - jrottet@newsobserv

As part of a study examining a 27-mile section of N.C. 98, the public is encouraged to share their thoughts and issues on the corridor with Wake County and state planners.

The study – launched by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Agency, the Durham Chapel Hill Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organizationand the North Carolina Department of Transportation – runs through July 2018. The three groups will assess current and future roads, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, safety and transit uses on a stretch of N.C. 98 that runs from U.S. 70 in Durham County through Wake County to U.S. 401 in Franklin County.

People can post their comments on traffic, safety or other issues at a specific intersection or piece of the corridor anonymously using an online map found at NC98Corridor.com through April 6. Some of the questions people are asked to consider when commenting include: What areas are challenging for you to navigate? Where do you see major issues? Do you have any environmental or safety concerns?

Public meetings will also be held on March 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Wake Forest Town Hall and March 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Reaching All Minds Academy in Durham.

“During this comment period the input from the crowdsourcing map will be used to identify problem areas and opportunities that the study team will address as we develop recommendations for the corridor,” said project manager Will Letchworth, in an email. WP-Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consulting firm Letchworth works for, was chosen to perform the study.

Wake County Commissioner Greg Ford said he hopes many residents, commuters and business owners participate and share their thoughts for the study.

“The goal of the study is to get as much public input as possible,” Ford said. “Input is so important because this is a crucial corridor, and feedback will help produce a vision for it.”

Car crashes and traffic along the stretch of N.C. 98 have increased recently, Ford said.

“We want to make it friendly to multi-modal use again,” he said.

Public meetings and events discussing the study will also be held, but the dates have yet to be announced. When the study is finished, it will include recommendations from the public, interest groups and agencies along with traffic analysis, implementation strategies and cost estimates, according to the project’s website.

The N.C. 98 corridor is the only east-west highway that connects east Durham and northern Wake County, as well as northern Wake County and southern Franklin County. It provides access to various thoroughfares, including U.S. 1, U.S. 401, U.S. 70 and N.C. 50.

A model used by NCDOT and other planning agencies to predict future traffic volumes shows that the corridor exceeds or is approaching capacity, according to NC98Corridor.com. If improvements aren’t made, the majority of the stretch is projected to exceed capacity by 2040. The study is also part of the 2045 long-range transportation plan for DCHC MPO and CAMPO, which MPOs are required to produce.

Other proposed improvements in the area including widening and converting U.S. 1 and widening Northern Durham Parkway and N.C. 50.

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler

Have your say

Residents can comment online by clicking the “How to Get Involved” tab at NC98Coriddor.com, scrolling down and selecting “Crowdsource Map,” or by visiting NC98Corridor.com/crowdsource/map.

To learn more about the N.C. 98 corridor study, people can visit NC98Corridor.com or contact consultant lead Will Letchworth at 984-269-4652 or letchworthw@pbworld.com.