NCDOT utilizing new incident corridor management twice this week
ASHEVILLE – New directional signs from Hendersonville to Asheville sprouted this year as part of an innovative signal system designed to guide drivers around major incidents on Interstate 26.
N.C. Department of Transportation crews installed signs and upgraded signal systems along I-26 alternate routes such as Asheville Highway and Hendersonville Road as part of a new Incident Corridor Management System. The system will be activated for the first time, thankfully in a non-emergency situation, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
“We’re fortunate to have so many engineers and technicians put so much time and energy into developing a system that will help thousands of people driving the I-26 corridor,” said Chad Franklin, Regional Information Traffic System Engineer. “We’re happy to use the system for the first time in a non-emergency situation. It’s like a dress rehearsal.”
Rolling roadblocks with delays up to 30 minutes on I-26 in Henderson County between U.S. 64 and U.S. 25 Business are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the westbound lanes, and 7 p.m. Wednesday for eastbound lanes. The rolling roadblocks will allow contract crews to safely place girders for a new bridge on Clear Creek Road over I-26.
Asheville Highway will serve as an alternate route on both nights. The new ICM system will provide longer green lights on Asheville Highway, giving drivers the choice to wait on I-26 during the rolling roadblock or to take the alternate route with more green light time. “We hope drivers choose to take the alternate route and use the new ICM on Tuesday and Wednesday night,” Franklin said. “It should provide drivers with a quicker route around construction and will provide us with feedback on how to improve all of the timing.”
NCDOT engineers developed the ICM system to direct local, commercial and emergency traffic to alternate routes between Hendersonville and Asheville in case of an emergency such as an extended closure of I-26 between I-40 and U.S 64.
Transportation officials in Raleigh or at the Mountain Regional Traffic Management Center can remotely initiate the system in a matter of minutes, activate the digital signs and change signal timing to allow more vehicles through signals along the detour routes.
For example, signals on Hendersonville Road (U.S. 25), Long Shoals Road, Airport Road, Brevard Road, or Haywood Road (N.C. 191) would remain green for an extended time period while side streets remain red longer to allow the detoured traffic to flow better along the alternate route.
“Our traffic and signal teams have put in a lot of time and technical work to design and implement this important system,” Franklin said. “We’re very fortunate to have this specialized system in Western North Carolina.”
Tourism Honorable Mention: Thermal Belt Rail Trail: Connecting Great Small Towns
Most Voted Honorable Mention: Thermal Belt Rail Trail: Connecting Great Small Towns
The N.C. Department of Transportation honored communities today that developed the state’s best multimodal projects, including a public transportation service in Shelby and a bridge with a multi-use path connecting Surf City to Topsail Island.
The NCDOT Mobi Awards, which started last year, honor transportation projects that improve the economy and enhance the quality of life in North Carolina communities. Projects had to combine the use of at least two transportation modes such as aviation, bicycle, pedestrian, ferry, public transportation, rail and roadway.
More than 60 projects competed in this year’s NCDOT Mobi Awards. “Whether we’re building bike and walking paths, making it more convenient for people to use public transportation or finding new ways to safely accommodate travelers on our highways, multimodal projects are an important piece of our transportation present and future,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “And it’s why we’re here today – to celebrate your commitment to multimodal investments and the important role they play in our way of life.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Mobi Awards were presented virtually and are available on NCDOT’s YouTube Channel.
Judges selected winners and honorable mentions from the following categories: Rural, Urban, Tourism and Innovation. For a new category, Most Voted Project, all this year’s entries were placed online so the public could vote for a First-Place winner and an honorable mention.
The 2020 NCDOT Mobi Book, which has detailed descriptions and pictures of all this year’s entries, can be found online.
Judges selected this year’s top projects based on how well projects leveraged public and private investment, contributed to economic development, created long-term jobs, improved public health and quality of life, and made other significant contributions. The event’s organizers were NCDOT, the North Carolina Triangle Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar, N.C. Go!, and N.C. State University Institute for Transportation Research and Education.
ASHEVILLE – Thousands of drivers heading into Asheville will be cruising on a brand new section of interstate starting Thursday morning. A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation will shift traffic on westbound Interstate 26 to newly constructed outside lanes prior to Brevard Road (Exit 33) on Wednesday night, weather permitting.
The shift will allow crews from Blythe Development to completely rehabilitate the current existing lanes. This phase of the $47.4 million project to improve the I-26/Brevard Road interchange will involve removing the existing asphalt, building new concrete lanes, constructing a median wall and improving the drainage.
Completion of the project will result in new bridges on Brevard Road over the interstate and four lanes in each direction on I-26. It will align with the current I-26 widening project from Henderson County to this project.
Transportation officials remind drivers to drive alert, obey all posted signs and slow down in work zones.
Boards provide instant information for Old Fort Mountain
BLACK MOUNTAIN – New signs with instant information have already provided benefits to drivers on the Old Fort Mountain section of Interstate 40.
A pair of dynamic message signs activated early this summer played a role in informing drivers of a roll-over crash last week that closed two eastbound lanes. The new eastbound sign near mile marker 64 told drivers, “Crash, 5 Miles Ahead, Left Lanes Closed.” It displayed the message while McDowell County EMS, State Highway Patrol and N.C. Department of Transportation personnel worked to reopen the lanes.
“The more advance warning we can provide motorists, the better so they can make better and safer travel decisions,” Western Intelligent Transportation Systems Engineer Chad Franklin said. “Drivers will be aware of the issue and they can slow down, or use a detour to bypass the incident.”
The safety project, adding signs prior to drivers navigating Old Fort Mountain, is designed to provide instant information in the event of a crash, maintenance, weather events, emergency events or any other roadway issue. Advance warning helps drivers make better travel decisions and reduces the possibility of crashes, including secondary crashes.
The Old Fort Mountain section of I-40, which traverses about 1,350 feet in elevation change over approximately 4.5 miles, carries about 38,000 vehicles per day, based on the 2018 traffic count.
“The signs will provide drivers the information necessary to make safe travel decisions,” Division 13 Traffic Engineer Anna Henderson said. “They can see it right there, in an instant, through their windshield.”