News Releases

9/4/2015: This Week at NCDOT: Pollinator Habitats in Bloom Along State Highways

This Week at NCDOT: Pollinator Habitats in Bloom Along State Highways

Posted 9/4/2015 2:21:19 PM

Pollinators find a home in wildflower beds, tickets still available for train stops at the N.C. State Fair and the Lexington Barbecue Festival, and ferry crews rescue a father and son in Swan Quarter Bay RALEIGH — The following are highlights from the past week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. Several of the below stories are also featured in our weekly newscast, NCDOT Now, which can be viewed by clicking here. NCDOT and N.C. Department of Agriculture Partner to Create Pollinator Habitats Agriculture is a $78 billion business in North Carolina and farmers throughout our state are concerned by the decline of pollinator birds and insects needed for crops to grow. The North Carolina Departments of Transportation and Agriculture are now partnering to strengthen pollinator habitats to help protect your food supply. Tickets Available for North Carolina State Fair and Lexington Barbecue Festival Train Stops If you are planning a trip to the North Carolina State Fair or the Lexington Barbecue Festival next month, North Carolina’s Amtrak invites you to forget about sitting in traffic and finding parking, and instead hop aboard a train for a simple and stress free ride. Click on the links below for information about each of these stops: •    Ride the Rails to the N.C. State Fair Oct. 16-25 •    Special Stop at Lexington Barbecue Festival Oct. 24 Ferry Crew Rescues Two From Overturned Boat in Swan Quarter Bay A father and son stranded in Swan Quarter Bay are now safe thanks to the quick thinking and response of an NCDOT ferry crew aboard the Motor Vessel Silver Lake, nearing the end of their run from Ocracoke on Saturday, Aug. 29. This is the fourth lifesaving rescue by NC Ferry Crews in the last two years. For more information on NCDOT Now, contact the NCDOT Communications Office at (919) 707-2660. Additional news stories from throughout the week can be found on NCDOT’s online newsroom. ***NCDOT***
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9/3/2015: Board of Transportation Adopts NC Comprehensive State Rail Plan

Board of Transportation Adopts NC Comprehensive State Rail Plan

Posted 9/3/2015 12:03:54 PM

RALEIGH- The North Carolina Board of Transportation adopted the 2015 Comprehensive State Rail Plan at its meeting on August 5, 2015. The Rail Plan was created to identify near- and long-term freight, passenger, and safety projects in addition to other rail initiatives that will help better serve our communities, businesses, and industries. These projects will enhance the value and effectiveness of our freight and passenger rail systems, which contribute approximately $1.88 billion in direct economic impacts to the North Carolina economy each year. The projects in the Rail Plan will support the delivery of Governor Pat McCrory’s 25 Year Vision for North Carolina in addition to providing a framework for prioritizing rail projects statewide based on need. Rail-related goals in the Governor’s 25-Year Vision that are incorporated in the State Rail Plan include improvement of rail connections between military bases and ports, service to intermodal facilities to support freight shipping, improved train service to the ports at Wilmington and Morehead City, and rail access to the Global TransPark and our state’s inland ports and intermodal facilities. The Rail Plan also includes expansion of transit options, including access to passenger rail service in all regions of the state. “As our State continues to grow, it is essential to our economy to ensure that our transportation system provides efficient alternatives to move people and goods, and connects North Carolina communities, businesses, and industries with domestic and international markets,” said Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. “Transportation continues to change and the Rail Plan is one tool that helps us transition from where we are to where we need to be.” “The Rail Plan identifies projects that will enhance rail capacity and safety along key corridors to better accommodate growing freight volumes and increased passenger service frequencies to meet demand,” said Rail Division Director Paul Worley. “Near-term passenger initiatives such as the implementation of the Piedmont Improvement Program and the 4th and 5th Piedmont frequencies between Raleigh and Charlotte, planning for connecting bus services, and new and improved stations will help continue to build and accommodate increasing passenger ridership, while ensuring the railroads provide efficient freight access throughout our State.”  The preparation of rail plans has been a best practice for states in prioritizing freight improvements since the 1970’s. This plan was prepared in accordance with Federal Railroad Administration State Rail Plan Guidelines published in September 2013. The North Carolina Comprehensive Rail Plan is available at http://www.ncbytrain.org/projects/rail-plan.html. 
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9/2/2015: NCDOT Ferry Division Lays Out Future Possibilities For Hatteras-Ocracoke Route

NCDOT Ferry Division Lays Out Future Possibilities For Hatteras-Ocracoke Route

Posted 9/2/2015 4:44:00 PM

(HATTERAS) - Faced with a summertime congestion problem on its popular Hatteras-Ocracoke route, the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division held meetings this week to get public input on possible solutions to ease congestion and return Ocracoke Island visitation to pre-recession levels. The meetings, held in Ocracoke on Monday and Hatteras Tuesday, are part of an NCDOT Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study that could lead to the establishment of passenger-only ferry service between Hatteras Village and Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor by the summer of 2017. Theoretically, the passenger ferries would drop visitors off directly in Ocracoke Village, where Hyde County would provide tram service around the village and to attractions such as the Ocracoke Lighthouse and the British Cemetery. The passenger ferries would be in addition to the Ferry Division’s current car ferry service.  “There are a lot of moving parts here, but if they all come together, this could solve a lot of the issues for Ocracoke visitation,” said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “It would ease the backups we have on the car ferry route, and bring more visitors with fewer cars into the village. On the surface, it seems like a win-win all around.” Other solutions are included in the study as well, such as year-round dredging of the now-closed “short” car ferry route, putting more car ferries into service on the current route, or loading more walk-on passengers onto the existing departures. But each of those comes with its own expense and logistical issues. The Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study began earlier this year and has included test runs of the possible ferry route, passenger surveys, and meetings with the public and stakeholders. It has also identified the kind of infrastructure and parking improvements that would be needed before service begins. The study is due to be complete by the end of 2015. For a complete look at the information presented at these meetings, go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncdot/albums/72157658106977475 (NCDOT)
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Members of the public attend an informational meeting Monday in Ocracoke on NCDOT's Passenger Ferry Feasibility Study
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8/31/2015: Ferry Crew Rescues Two From Overturned Boat in Swan Quarter Bay

Ferry Crew Rescues Two From Overturned Boat in Swan Quarter Bay

Posted 8/31/2015 12:06:45 PM

SWAN QUARTER - Nearing the end of his 9:30 a.m. run from Ocracoke on Saturday, North Carolina Ferry Captain Mark Piner noticed an unusual sight in Swan Quarter Bay: an overturned boat with two people hanging onto it. Immediately, Capt. Piner contacted the U.S. Coast Guard and ordered the M/V Silver Lake’s rescue boat launched. Crew members Daniel Smith and Simon Robinette piloted the rescue boat to the capsized vessel, pulling George and Justin Peele out of the water and into the rescue boat. After determining that both men were unharmed, the crew brought the father and son onboard the M/V Silver Lake, and the ferry completed its run to Swan Quarter. Upon reaching the ferry terminal, crew member Robinette returned both men to their vehicle at a nearby boat ramp. “Once again, our crews have demonstrated that their training pays off,” said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. “It should be a comfort to boaters all across Eastern North Carolina that our ferry crews stand ready and able to assist any boaters they find in distress.” The rescue was the fourth such action by ferry crews in the past two years. On Sept. 26, 2013, the crew of the M/V Cedar Island rescued two sailors in rough seas just off of Ocracoke. In separate incidents on March 29 and July 4 of this year, N.C. Ferry crews came to the aid of men whose sailboats had overturned in the Neuse River. ***NCDOT***
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The crew of M/V Silver Lake rescued two people from an overturned boat on Aug. 29, 2015.
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8/28/2015: NCDOT’s Helping Travelers Save Time, Money Over Labor Day Weekend

NCDOT’s Helping Travelers Save Time, Money Over Labor Day Weekend

Posted 8/28/2015 10:02:46 AM

RALEIGH – As families travel to enjoy the final holiday weekend of summer, the N.C. Department of Transportation will suspend most road construction activities on major routes across the state to help make their trips a little smoother. By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can reach their destinations safely and efficiently, while cutting down on fuel consumption and costs.  NCDOT will put on hold most construction projects along interstate, N.C. and U.S. routes from 4 p.m., Friday, September 4, until 9 a.m., Tuesday, September 8 with these exceptions:  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;U.S. 264 in Dare County will have lane closures at five locations to replace five bridges by phased construction. Traffic will be controlled by temporary signals;Hanover Street to Campbell Street will be closed with detours in New Hanover County due to a bridge replacement;Southbound Interstate 85 at Poplar Mount Road (mile marker 227.5) north of Henderson will have one lane closed;I-40 in the Fortify work zone in Raleigh will have lane closure restrictions, with travel limited to three lanes in both directions;U.S. 311 south of Archdale in Randolph County is closed and a detour is in place due to a culvert replacement project;I-73 in Guilford County is reduced to three lanes in each direction in Greensboro between Wendover Avenue and I-85;U.S. 21 in Alleghany County has two automated signals in place along a 10-mile stretch for staged structure replacement; Eastbound U.S. 74 in Cleveland County has a one-lane pattern just east of Sandy Run Creek bridges and a one-lane detour route along new ramps for Peachtree Road and back to U.S. 74; andSouthbound I -77 Exit 51B in Iredell County is closed and a detour is in place due to ramp work at U.S. 21.Here are some additional tips for navigating the highways safely 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 zones.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 online and 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.For real-time travel information, visit the Travel section of the NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Also, the 2015 Labor Day Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) “Booze It & Lose It” has kicked off and runs through September 7. Nearly every law enforcement agency in the state participates in this highly-effective anti-drunk driving enforcement and education campaign. Last year approximately 2,800 DWI arrests were made during the Labor Day campaign. Local and state law enforcement officers also issued more than 102,000 traffic and criminal citations statewide. Sobriety checkpoints will be continually set up in all North Carolina counties during this year’s campaign. Remember, there are more ways than ever to get home if you have been drinking. Call a friend, take a taxi, ride public transportation, designate a sober a driver or use a ridesharing app.
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