This Week at NCDOT: Hurricane Dorian Response
RALEIGH – The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The stories below are also featured in NCDOT Now, the department’s weekly newscast.
Preparation and Response
This week, the department’s focus was on preparing for and responding to Hurricane Dorian which impacted coastal areas of North Carolina.
For more information about NCDOT Now, contact the NCDOT Communications Office at (919) 707-2660. Additional news stories from throughout the week can be found on NCDOT.gov.
New span replacing old structure
RUTHERFORDTON – A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation will replace a 56-year-old bridge in Rutherford County beginning on Monday, Sept. 9. Pilgrim Road will be closed to through traffic while crews from R.E. Burns & Sons Inc., replace the bridge over Webb’s Creek at a cost of $520,000.
NCDOT officials expect the road between Ellenboro and Forest City to reopen by next September. The old bridge is outdated, has a low posted weight limit and components that have deteriorated over the years. Through traffic will be detoured on a combination of U.S. 74 Business and Oak Grove Church Road.
RALEIGH – To ensure the most safe and efficient travel possible for North Carolina residents and visitors this Labor Day weekend, the N.C. Department of Transportation will suspend most road construction projects causing lane closures on major routes across the state.
Where possible, closed lanes will be opened from Friday morning until Tuesday evening. There are, however, some locations where the type or stage of construction will not allow an opening for safety reasons.
NCDOT encourages drivers to follow these tips to navigate the roads safely over the holiday weekend:
- Leave early to get a head start on your drive. Travel at non-peak hours when possible;
- Stay alert. Even if construction 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;
- Travel at times when you are normally awake and take frequent breaks; and
- Avoid distracted driving; and
- Don’t drive drunk or impaired.
Labor Day weekend is also a time for law enforcement to crack down on drunk driving. The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program has already started its “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, geared toward catching people who are driving under the influence.
Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be in place in all 100 counties through Monday to keep impaired drivers off the roads. If you plan to drink over the holiday period, NCDOT and GHSP strongly urge you to call a friend, use a ride-share service or take a cab or public transit.
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1503 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 | (919) 707-2660
RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation is seeking public comments on a draft N.C. Zero-Emission Vehicle Plan the agency is developing to boost the number of electric vehicles on the road. People can review the plan and provide feedback on this NCDOT webpage until 5 p.m. Sept. 6.
The draft plan is the result of Gov. Roy Cooper last fall issuing Executive Order No. 80, which is a commitment to address climate change and transition to a clean energy economy.
The governor’s order called upon the NCDOT to develop a N.C. Zero-Emission Vehicle Plan to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles registered in this state to 80,000 by 2025. When Executive Order 80 was signed, more than 6,000 fully electric vehicles were registered in North Carolina.
Zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) are fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Depending upon the specific technology, these vehicles have no or significantly reduced tailpipe emissions compared with conventional vehicles.
“DOT has created this draft plan with clear and measurable strategies, in order for our state to lead the nation in embracing zero-emission technologies,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon.
NCDOT is releasing today the draft version of its North Carolina ZEV Plan. The plan summarizes the research the department has done and the public input from online surveys and workshops it has received since January. It also highlights important issues and action areas for achieving 80,000 registered, zero-emission vehicles by 2025. One example is how to increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations along major routes and at retail centers.
“We’ve been studying some important issues that will need to be addressed under the governor’s executive order,” said Colin Mellor, an NCDOT environmental policy analyst helping coordinate the department’s ZEV plan. “We need the public and other stakeholders to confirm we have heard their points of view, and to let us know if there are any other issues we should consider as we finalize the plan.”
The plan highlights four categories of activities the state will need to pursue to comply with the governor’s executive order. Those categories are:
- Promoting public awareness and education about electric vehicles;
- Enhancing the convenience of operating and recharging a ZEV;
- Reducing the upfront costs of a ZEV; and
- Considering policy changes that promote the use of electric vehicles.
The final plan will be submitted to the governor at the North Carolina Climate Change Interagency Council meeting on Sept. 27.
| RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation is improving its policy that focuses on evaluating every mode of travel for projects. The changes will enhance the safety and efficiency of the state’s transportation network. Members of the N.C. Board of Transportation on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution in support of implementing amendments to the department’s Complete Streets policy. NCDOT adopted the Complete Streets policy in 2009. |
The policy directs transportation engineers and planners to take into account and incorporate different types of transportation into road projects, where feasible. The various transportation modes include driving, walking, biking, rail, aviation, and public transit. The board’s vote on Thursday supports NCDOT’s ongoing efforts to update and implement improvements to the Complete Streets policy.
“The goal is a policy that does a better job considering different forms of transportation as projects are being developed – and not just considered at the end of project development,” Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon told the board on Thursday. Trogdon recognized members of a technical team who have been working over the past year to improve the department’s Complete Street policy. “This team helped us move toward turning that goal into reality – to build projects people need, want and will use,” Trogdon said.
The board’s action Thursday will lead to an improved internal process for planning and constructing transportation projects and, ultimately, reduce fatal crashes and pedestrian deaths as part of the department’s Vision Zero initiative.