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This Week at NCDOT - March 20, 2015

RALEIGH - From the North Carolina mountains to the coast, the N.C. Department of Transportation is involved in numerous programs, activities and initiatives in communities throughout the state. The following are highlights from the department this week. They are also featured in our weekly newscast, NCDOT Now, which can be viewed here.National Work Zone Safety Awareness WeekSpring is officially here and along with it comes the unofficial start of construction season for NCDOT. To remind drivers of the importance of staying safe in work zones obeying posted speed limits and paying attention, March 23 through 27 has been named National Work Zone Awareness Week. The theme of this year's campaign is "Expect the Unexpected" and focuses on bringing attention not only to the safety of workers in work zones, but also to the safety of drivers and passengers traveling through these areas. According to the Federal Highway Administration, on average 85 percent of deaths in work zone crashes are drivers and passengers in cars.NCDMV and NCDENR Debut New Exemption for Inspection and Maintenance ProgramThe Division of Motor Vehicles, in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will soon debut a new emissions exemption pertaining to the North Carolina Inspection and Maintenance Program.Starting April 1, if you have a car that is less than three years older than the current model year and has fewer than 70,000 miles, you will not be required to get an emissions inspection. All vehicles will still be subject to a safety inspection. To learn more and find out which inspection is required for your vehicle, visit the DMV website.North Carolina State Rail Plan Public Comment Period Ends SaturdaySaturday, March 21, is your last chance to provide feedback on the draft North Carolina State Rail Plan. The rail plan is designed to transform transportation, economic, land use and other data into a strategic freight and passenger investment plan for North Carolina. The draft plan was released earlier this year and features several recommendations for freight and passenger rail, as well as safety and funding. Some of the recommendations include: Conducting a study to identify a potential new rail intermodal site in eastern North Carolina; and Adding more runs to the Raleigh to Charlotte Amtrak services to enhance mobility. Passenger and freight rail enhancements are an important part of the Governor's 25-Year Vision, and in turn, NCDOT's draft improvement program for the next 10 years.To learn more and provide feedback on the rail plan, visit ncbytrain.org. 2015 N.C. Aviation Art Contest Winners AnnouncedMore than 549 inspired young artists representing 97 towns and 58 schools across the state submitted their take on the theme "World Air Games" through the NCDOT Division of Aviation's 2015 North Carolina Aviation Art Contest. Students were asked to create a picture that captures the excitement of the World Air Games taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A judging panel has selected the winning entries, which will advance to compete on the national and international levels.All children who live in or attend school in North Carolina were invited to submit their interpretations of this year's theme. T

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