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NCDOT Project Phases


 Content Editor ‭[3]‬

 Content Editor ‭[2]‬

 Content Editor ‭[1]‬

NCDOT Project Phases

How an Idea Becomes a Transportation Project

Public input is a vital part of the project development process at the N.C. Department of Transportation. This section shows you the transportation decision-making process in seven basic phases. These will help you understand what activities and decisions help move a project from an idea to a reality

It is important to get involved with a project early and often. Public input is the fuel that drives a project forward. Be a voice in your community by understanding the processes in place to make sure projects meet the needs of the area."

During Phase 1, regional and local agencies are responsible for developing different types of plans that guide transportation decisions and projects. NCDOT develops a statewide long-range transportation plan every 10 years. Read the current plan.

Phase 1 of 7


How decisions are made about which projects will be built in the future

In the planning phase, NCDOT works with regional and local agencies to develop long-range transportation plans that look at the multimodal transportation needs and priorities of a community over 20 to 30 years. Project proposals to meet the identified needs are first developed in these plans. The proposals are checked to ensure they meet the transportation needs and community vision that includes consideration of the natural and human environment.

Public meetings and surveys are common methods for public input during this phase.

The process of prioritizing transportation projects is called Strategic Prioritization. This process is done about every two years and is documented through the State Transportation Improvement Program, also known as STIP, and regional Transportation Improvement Programs, also known as TIPs

Phase 2 of 7


How transportation projects are prioritized

The identified transportation needs are then evaluated to help prioritize funding and construction. The prioritization process scores and ranks all the transportation projects based on criteria such as safety and congestion. During this process, some projects discussed during the planning process may be programmed for development and design because they were ranked high enough. Projects that do not rank high enough can be resubmitted in the next prioritization cycle.

Phase 3 of 7

Project Development

How potential alternatives are studied and chosen

After a project is funded, it undergoes environmental studies to look at the community and environmental resources in the proposed project areas and examine any potential impacts. The design and traffic engineering studies are also prepared in this phase to analyze proposed alternatives. The alternatives are studied to see if they safely, efficiently and economically meet the transportation needs in the project area while causing minimal impact to community resources such as homes, churches, historical sites and wetlands.

NCDOT will inform the public about the proposed project and uses feedback from the public, and public agencies, to determine where and how proposed projects should be built.

Phase 4 of 7


How ideas are turned into transportation projects

NCDOT determines how a project will be built using information gathered from previous phases. During the final design phase, detailed plans for the project are prepared.

Phase 5 of 7

Property Acquisition

How NCDOT purchases land needed for project

During the project development and design phases, NCDOT works to minimize the number of homes and businesses impacted by a project, but in many cases NCDOT must acquire a necessary amount of private property to build the project. This process is called right-of-way acquisition. Learn more about this process.


Design-build is another process used to help complete projects faster and save taxpayer money through innovative approaches to design and construction. The design-build method allows the design, environmental permitting, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and construction to take place under one contract, reducing overall construction time, helping NCDOT avoid cost inflation, lessening environmental impacts and alleviating driving delays for motorists.

Phase 6 of 7


How transportation projects are built

Once the final design is complete and any necessary right of way is acquired, NCDOT goes through the process of hiring a private contractor to build the project.

Phase 7 of 7


How NCDOT maintains facilities once they are built

After a project is built to acceptable specifications, NCDOT takes over maintenance of the project, helping to prolong the life of the project.

For roadway projects, you can help NCDOT by reporting road issues.

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5

Phase 6

Phase 7

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