News Releases

8/26/2014: NCDOT Aims to Help Travelers Save Time and Money Over Labor Day Holiday

NCDOT Aims to Help Travelers Save Time and Money Over Labor Day Holiday

Posted 8/26/2014 4:38:34 PM

RALEIGH - As the summer travel season comes to an end, the N.C. Department of Transportation is taking steps to help ensure motorists save both time and money by suspending most road construction work on major routes across the state over the Labor Day holiday. By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can reach their destinations safely and efficiently, while cutting down on fuel consumption and costs. Most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes will be suspended from 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, until 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 2, with these exceptions:   ·         In Raleigh (Wake County), the two lanes of the I-40 West ramp onto I-440 West are reduced to one lane and I-440 East and West will remain in a two-lane pattern between I-40 and U.S. 64/264 as a part of the Fortify project; ·         I-40 West in Canton (Haywood County) is reduced to two lanes between mile markers 37 and 34 for median work; ·         U.S. 74 in Waynesville (Haywood County) is reduced to one lane in each direction between mile marker 98 and the Jackson County line for median work; ·         The N.C. 268 bridge over U.S. 52 in Pilot Mountain (Surry County) is closed for a bridge replacement; ·         I-73 (Guilford County) is reduced to two lanes in each direction between I-40 and I-85 for a construction of a new interchange with High Point Road; ·         U.S. 158 (Elizabeth Street) in Elizabeth City is reduced to one lane in each direction from Road Street to the Pasquotank River Bridge for resurfacing and construction of a new bridge; ·         NC 171 south of Jamesville near Farm Life (Martin County) is reduced to one lane controlled by portable signals for a bridge replacement project; ·         U.S. 264 near Stumpy Point (Dare County) is reduced to one lane for a bridge replacement project; and ·         N.C. 94 in Fairfield (Hyde County) is reduced to one lane for a culvert replacement project on the Lake Mattamuskeet causeway.   For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter.   Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. The site has a number of features to help travelers in addition to providing up-to-the-minute traffic information. For example, travelers can use NCDOT Mobile to easily locate the nearest North Carolina rest areas where they can take a break from their drive. They can pull up more information about amenities available at each rest area, as well as view them on a map and get driving directions.   To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.   Here are some additional tips for navigating the highways during the holiday travel season:   ·         Leave early to get a head start on your drive. Travel at non-peak hours when possible. ·         Stay alert. Even if work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts in work zone areas. ·         Be patient and obey the posted speed limit. ·         Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion. ·         Stay informed. Real-time travel information is available over the phone by dialing 511. ·         Don’t drive drowsy. Travel at times when you are normally awake, and take frequent breaks. ·         Avoid distracted driving. When drivers stop focusing on the road ahead, they react more slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in an accident.   In addition, the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” began Friday, Aug. 15 and runs through Monday, Sept. 1. Law enforcement officers will be out day and night, arresting those who make the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking.  Be smart. Designate a sober driver.    While you’re traveling this Labor Day holiday, remember, your job is to be a safe driver, so focus on the road and let everything else wait until you arrive at your destination.   ***NCDOT***
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8/21/2014: NCDOT Urges Back to School Safety

NCDOT Urges Back to School Safety

Posted 8/21/2014 4:10:29 PM

RALEIGH – It’s back to school time for nearly 1.5 million students across the state Monday, which means North Carolina’s roads will be jam-packed with cars, buses and pedestrians. As we prepare for the new school year, the N.C. Department of Transportation urges students and motorists to stay alert and exercise caution on the road, especially around crosswalks, school buses and bus stops. Each year in North Carolina, more than 2,000 pedestrians are injured and 160 are killed in collisions with vehicles. In the last two school years, five students have been killed either crossing the road to or from a bus or while standing at a bus stop. “ Keeping our students safe is a priority and these tragic accidents can be avoided if we all practice simple safety measures, “said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “We urge students to be careful when crossing the street and drivers to do their part by keeping a close eye on students who are getting on or off school buses, as well as students and teachers who are walking to and from school.” NCDOT offers students a few basic rules of safety as they head back to school:       • Cross in the crosswalk.       • Look for cars in all directions—including those turning left or right—before crossing the street; never          assume a driver will stop.       • Be careful when crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.       • Pay attention to where you’re walking and take the focus off your cell phone or other electronic device. A          moment of distraction could have disastrous consequences.       • Be predictable to drivers and follow the rules of the road—obey signs and signals.       • Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic.       • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as you can. NCDOT reminds motorists of these basic driving tips as the new school year approaches:          Always stop for a stopped school bus. If the lights are flashing and the stop sign is out, you must stop,           including in the following situations:       • If you are traveling a two-lane road, all traffic in both directions must stop.       • If you are traveling a two-lane road with a center turn lane, all traffic from both directions must stop.          • If you are traveling a four-lane road without a median separation, all traffic from both directions must stop.       • If you are traveling a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation, only traffic following the         bus must stop.       • If you are traveling a road with four or more lanes with a center turn lane, only traffic following the bus must stop.       • Be prepared to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.       • Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.       • Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of any pedestrians.       • Slow down in areas where you are likely to find pedestrians, such as near bus stops, schools and playgrounds.       • Avoid distractions such as food, passengers and using mobile devices. North Carolina has stiff penalties for motorists who fail to comply with school bus safety rules.        • There is a $500 penalty for motorists who are caught passing a stopped school bus, with the possibility of        license revocation.     • There is a $250 penalty for speeding in a school zone in North Carolina.      • Passing a stopped school bus can cost motorists five points on their driver’s license and eight points for        commercial vehicles. For more information, visit the Watch for Me NC campaign website to learn more about what you can do to keep roads safe for everyone.   Visit the DMV website for more information about school bus laws.                                                                                          
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8/20/2014: NCDMV to Offer ID Cards, Driver License Renewals and Duplicates at 68th North Carolina Apple Festival

NCDMV to Offer ID Cards, Driver License Renewals and Duplicates at 68th North Carolina Apple Festival

Posted 8/20/2014 4:16:14 PM

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will participate in the celebration of the 68th North Carolina Apple Festival in Hendersonville from Friday, August 29 – Sunday, August 31. Division representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide information to festival goers during the Labor Day weekend. NCDMV’s mobile unit will be on site from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday providing services.  The Division will also offer opportunities for festival attendants to renew their driver licenses, as long as a written or road test is not required. Driver licenses are issued through age 65 for eight years and are priced at $4 per year. Drivers over 65 are issued licenses for five years.  Duplicate driver licenses and ID cards for children and adults can be ordered at the mobile unit for $10 each. The unit will also provide state transportation maps, driver handbooks and brochures. NCDMV urges citizens to come prepared with the necessary documents to order ID cards. Citizens applying for an ID card for the first time will need to provide proof of their full name and date of birth. They will also need to provide a Social Security card and proof of residency in North Carolina. A full list of acceptable documents is available on the official NCDMV website. ***NCDOT***
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8/15/2014: Governor’s Highway Safety Program Marks 20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It”

Governor’s Highway Safety Program Marks 20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It”

Posted 8/15/2014 3:13:58 PM

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program today kicked off the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, which runs through Sept. 1. As part of the campaign’s launch, NCDOT and GHSP held a luncheon in Charlotte to recognize the 20th anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It” in North Carolina. Over the past two decades, the state has made great strides to save lives by increasing public awareness about the dangers of driving drunk and stepping up high visibility enforcement efforts to catch those who make the bad decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. “North Carolina has always tackled issues head on,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “Twenty years ago, we knew our state had a problem with drinking and driving. We partnered with law enforcement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other government agencies to pool our resources to make a real difference. Getting drunk drivers off the road has been and will continue to be one of our top priorities.” GHSP started working with MADD in the 1980s to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, and reinforce the message that lives lost to drunk driving are 100 percent preventable. This team approach to improving safety gained momentum as GHSP partnered with former Gov. Jim Martin’s administration, MADD, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Forensics Test for Alcohol branch, the N.C. Department of Insurance, the Highway Safety Research Center, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and law enforcement to combat the issue. Extraordinary cooperation and commitment resulted in the “Booze It & Lose It” initiative launching in North Carolina in 1994. Since the campaign’s inception, officers have arrested nearly 1.5 million drivers for driving while intoxicated. Despite increased enforcement efforts, 8,469 individuals lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes from 1994 to 2013. Despite two decades of education, awareness and enforcement, people are still making the life-threatening decision to drink and drive. Therefore, the “Booze It & Lose It” partners are constantly looking for new ways to catch drunk drivers and prevent crashes. In 1996, NC DHHS Forensics Test for Alcohol and GHSP launched the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit. The BAT Mobile can go anywhere and assists law enforcement by providing the ability to test suspected impaired drivers on the scene. Today, there are six in operation with plans to expand the fleet in the near future. In addition to the BAT Mobile, DWI task forces are in operation in areas with the highest number of DWI-related deaths. There are currently nine DWI task forces across the state, located in the following counties, which are dedicated solely to getting drunk drivers off the roads: Forsyth;Guilford;Wake;Mecklenburg;Buncombe;Robeson;Columbus;New Hanover; andBrunswick. The public awareness and education component continues to evolve, as well. The data show males 18-34 are the top offenders when it comes to drunk driving. In an effort to reach this key population and change their behavior, NCDOT and GHSP have produced a new public service announcement that will begin running today on television and digital media. Non-traditional media will also play a significant role in spreading the word about the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign. GHSP is sharing its anti-drinking and driving messages on Pandora, Facebook and Twitter, as well in restaurants and bars with posters and coasters reminding patrons to have a designated driver. The Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign begins today, Aug. 15 and ends on Sept. 1. During that time, law enforcement officers will step up patrols statewide day and night, and cite those who make the decision to drive drunk. ***NCDOT***
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8/15/2014: Motorists Shifted to New Lanes of I-440 East as Fortify Project Moves Forward

Motorists Shifted to New Lanes of I-440 East as Fortify Project Moves Forward

Posted 8/15/2014 11:31:50 AM

RALEIGH – The Fortify Project to rebuild sections of I-440 and I-40 in Raleigh took another significant step forward. Traffic on I-440 East through the work zone was shifted overnight from the outside two lanes to the two newly-built inside lanes between the I-495/U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass exit and I-40. The move allows crews to begin rebuilding the outside lanes of I-440 East. The same move was made for I-440 West last month. For drivers going through this three-mile section of the Fortify work zone it means a slight shift farther to the left than they have been making, and a sharper move to the right to access the exits for Poole Road and I-40.  Except for the exit ramps, the outside lanes and shoulder are closed to through traffic for the rest of this phase of the project, which is expected to wrap up late this year. As with many traffic pattern changes, this shift will take some time for drivers to get used to and NCDOT asks motorists to have patience as they learn the new pattern. The department also urges drivers to slow down, use caution and obey the speed limit of 55 mph through the work zone. Because there isn’t shoulder space along I-440 in either direction in the work zone, drivers experiencing car trouble or who have been involved in a minor accident but whose vehicle can still move, should make an effort to get to the next exit, where there is space to pull over and safely get out of the vehicle. If a vehicle cannot be moved, the driver should stay inside, turn on the flashers, and if a cell phone is available, call 911. Getting out of the car puts the driver or passengers into the other travel lane and possibly into the path of on-coming vehicles. Law enforcement, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Assistance Patrols, the contracted towing company and project contractor employees are trained to look for distressed motorists and quickly come to their aid. In addition, NCDOT employees who monitor the traffic cameras along the project site will alert law enforcement and other first responders as soon as they spot an issue. Project Update Now that the rebuilding of the two inside lanes in both directions of I-440 is finished, crews are doing the same work on the outside lane and shoulder in each direction. When that work is done later this year, the project shifts to the larger I-40 section of the project between the I-440/U.S. 1/64 interchange in Cary and the I-440 split in southwest Raleigh. Bridge widening and shoulder preparation work along I-40 has been under way for several months in anticipation of that move. Project Background The Fortify project includes the removal and replacement of the highway surface and substructure along 11.5 miles of interstate on I-40 and I-440. A chemical reaction in the 40-year-old substructure of the roadway is causing it to crumble, and in turn, damaging the road surface. That required constant repairs, and led to concerns of ongoing major travel disruptions along one of the state’s busiest stretches of highway. The initial phase is focused on the I-440 section so that highway would be available as an alternate route for drivers to use to get around the construction on I-40 when it starts. During the I-40 phase, traffic in both directions will be in a three-lane pattern. That is expected to start late this year or in early 2015, with the entire project wrapping up in the Fall of 2016. Commuter Options Because of the expected traffic impact of the project, especially when work is under way full-time on I-40, NCDOT is partnered with Go Triangle, Triangle Transit and Capital Area Transit to promote options to help motorists avoid traveling through the work zone at peak travel times. A Fortify website provides comprehensive information, including alternate transit options, project maps and links to live traffic cameras. Employers can also access online resources to help them develop and implement a flexible work program. The site includes links to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to stay engaged with NCDOT and other commuters. Triangle Transit created new commuting options that include express bus service from Johnston County (JCX) and additional service from eastern Wake County. There is also a new park and ride lot at the Wal-Mart at the Cleveland Crossings Shopping Center at I-40 and N.C. 42 for catching the JCX or meeting with carpoolers and vanpoolers to share a ride. To learn more about finding a carpool or vanpool, visit www.sharetheridenc.org. More new routes, including from Cary through west Raleigh and N.C. State University into downtown Raleigh, as well as a route from Fuquay-Varina into Raleigh are scheduled to begin late this year in anticipation of the project shift to I-40. Bus On Shoulder System (BOSS) is now active along I-40 from Raleigh to Exit 312 for N.C. 42. BOSS enables busses on designated bus routes to travel in the shoulder of the interstate as long as traffic in travel lanes is moving at speeds lower than 35 miles per hour. *** NCDOT ***
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