Raleigh - The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The stories below are also featured in the department's weekly newscast N.C. Transportation Now.
Interstates Reopen, but Others Roads Remain Closed Due to Hurricane Matthew
After flooding from Hurricane Matthew forced the closure of several sections of Interstate 95 and a section of I-40 in North Carolina, both routes are once again open to traffic. Hurricane Matthew caused extensive damage to the state's highways and bridges, and several hundred roads in eastern North Carolina remain closed. While some repairs have already been finished, others will take months to complete. As transportation crews work to reopen roads as quickly as possible, safety is our top concern.
Governor Pat McCrory reminds drivers to not drive into standing water or around barricades, and to slow down when approaching work crews. He is also reminding drivers not to rely on GPS devices for road closure and detour information. For the latest travel conditions, go to ReadyNC.org, download the Ready NC app or call 5-1-1 or (877) 511-4662.
Sharing the Message of Safety at the State Fair
The state is also sharing its safety message at the North Carolina State Fair with the return of Safety City. The exhibit's goal is to decrease roadway injuries and fatalities by educating fair attendees about highway safety issues. One of the top attractions is the Convincer, a crash simulator that demonstrates the importance of wearing a seat belt at all times. Other areas of Safety City address child passenger safety, teen driving, speeding, distracted driving and railroad safety.
Safety City complements Governor McCrory's recently launched NC Vision Zero initiative, which has a long-term goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on North Carolina roadways.
Howell Mill Road Project Celebrated in Waynesville
Secretary Tennyson joined the community of Waynesville to celebrate the completion of the Howell Mill Road project. Originally scheduled for completion last Friday, the new bridge opened to traffic in June -- more than four months ahead of schedule.
The project is one of the first completed as part of Governor McCrory's Art That Moves You initiative, which incorporates local creative design into traditional construction projects to enhance roadways and welcome points across the state. In this case, bridge enhancements include stamped rock forms, bronze- coated metal railing, aesthetic lighting, black chain-length fence and a powder-coated guardrail.
Secretary Tennyson Tours U.S. 74 Shelby Bypass Project
Secretary Tennyson also toured the U.S. 74 Bypass under construction in Shelby. The project is divided into six sections -one opened to traffic last month and two are currently under construction. The department plans to begin constructing the fourth section in 2017, and the final two sections are expected to be funded in the state's next 10-year transportation plan, which will be released in January 2017. Once complete, the 18.5-mile bypass will reduce future traffic congestion and increase safety and connectivity along the U.S. 74 corridor between I-26 and I-85.
The highway is being built to interstate standards and helps fulfill the Governor's 25-Year Vision for transportation in North Carolina by strengthening highway connectivity from the mountains to the coast.