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Year in Review: 2021 NCDOT Highlights


​​RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation is closing out 2021 with strong finances, hundreds of projects completed statewide and national recognition for delivering innovative mobility solutions.

“NCDOT staff worked tirelessly in 2021 to keep North Carolina a great state to live and work,” said Transportation Secretary J. Eric Boyette. “In 2022, we will stay on the forefront of innovation and continue to provide a safe and resilient transportation system.”

The following are some of the highlights of 2021 at NCDOT. These are also featured in our annual year in review video.

  • NCDOT kicked off the year with a partnership with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to provide over 10,000 people public transportation to COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
  • Crews from across the state helped with emergency response efforts throughout the year as storms impacted the mountains to the coast. The most prominent storm, Tropical Depression Fred, caused significant flooding, washed out several roads and bridges and left nearly 400 damaged sites across the mountain region. More than 600 employees around the state worked to reopen the areas quickly, including the Chinquapin Road bridge in Cruso, which was reopened in 40 hours.
  • NCDOT helped support and fund a new tool to prevent people from getting hit by trains and NC Quick Pass customers participated in a touchless payment system pilot program.
  • For the first time ever, the department used drones to conduct a bridge inspection​, while the Division of Aviation and Ferry Division completed successful trial flights of a delivery drone from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island.
  • Employees who teleworked due to the pandemic returned to departmental offices across the state in the summer. This meant the department and the communities it serves could continue in-person events – like honoring the late Dr. Jerry Wolfe who had a 4.2 mile stretch of U.S. 441 named the Beloved Man Dr. Jerry Wolfe Highway, and naming the Sunset Avenue bridge in Rocky Mount in honor of former N.C. Board of Transportation Member Gus Tulloss.
  • The Division of Highways, in partnership with the Office of Civil Rights, also hosted several workshops across the state to encourage small and disadvantaged business participation and provide access to compete on NCDOT contracts. Hundreds of people from more than 100 firms participated in the meetings.
  • NCDOT and the National Park Service launched the first self-driving vehicle at a recreational public lands site in the nation, conducting several hundred successful trips at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.
  • The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles celebrated the License and Theft Bureau’s 100-year anniversary​.
  • The Marc Basnight Bridge in Dare County was named “Bridge of the Year” by Infrastructure magazine, and the National Operations Center of Excellence honored the department for its new Traffic Incident Management Training Track.
  • Construction began on an I-40 bridge replacement project over Harmon Den Road in Haywood County. The plans include two paths and other measures to help wildlife migrate from one side of the interstate to the other without encountering vehicles – the first of its kind in North Carolina. 
  • In the fall, the hard work and dedication to communities by NCDOT and its partners earned top honors by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The Salem Parkway project in Winston-Salem rose to the top out of 80 nominees from 35 state DOTs and was named the Grand Prize Winner in America’s Transportation Awards. The project sets an industry example for modern project delivery, with strong collaboration with the community and consideration of all modes of transportation. The Green Street Pedestrian Bridge over Salem Parkway went on to be named the No. 2 bridge on Roads & Bridges magazine’s top-10 bridges of the year list in December.
  • The modes also received recognition, with the grand opening of the new Carolina Connector intermodal transportation facility in Edgecombe County. The 330-acre site allows trucks to bring cargo containers to a rail yard, where they are transferred to trains for transport. The facility provides regional industries with efficient access to rail, helping connect products to consumers nationwide. 
  • The Port Authority’s newly launched Wilmington Midwest Express will also supply a key intermodal capability of expediting shipping containers to the Midwest while concurrently reducing customer transit costs and emissions.

By the numbers in 2021:

  • NCDOT crews, contractors and volunteers worked hard to keep North Carolina clean and beautiful, collecting a record 13 million pounds of litter from roadsides and removing nearly 18,000 square feet of graffiti.  
  • Department crews patched more than 265,000 potholes, applied nearly 15,000 miles of road markings, and installed nearly 100,000 linear feet of pipe across the state. 
  • NCDOT also worked closely with local communities and planning organizations around the state to deliver mobility solutions that meet their needs, including about 6,400 lane miles of paved projects, 80 completed bridge and culvert projects, and nearly 240 projects completed statewide.​


1/3/2022 10:37 AM