Shared by IRPO–New Digital Signs Helping I-40 Drivers

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.”

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media.


TAC and TAC Meetings

The RPO will hold a TCC and a TAC meeting on July 8th.

The Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) meeting will start at 10:30 AM and will be live-streamed on the RPO’s Facebook page: See the agenda packet here.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting will start at 1:00 PM. The meeting will be live-streamed on the RPO’s Facebook page:, See the agenda packet here.

If you would like an invitation to either meeting or have a comment, please email by 9:00 AM, July 8th, 2020.

Maintain Your Independence: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Statewide ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign Underway

Maintain Your Independence: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Statewide ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaign Underway CHERRY POINT – The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program has a new weapon in its arsenal in the war against impaired driving during the Independence Day holiday – window chalk.

“As a show of solidarity during the campaign, which runs today through July 5, drivers are being asked to write the message (hashtag) #KeysFreeNC in window chalk on their vehicles to help encourage fellow North Carolinians to leave the keys behind if they are going to be drinking,” said NCGHSP director Mark Ezzell.

Drunk driving is historically high during the week leading up the Fourth of July, though previous community efforts are making an impact.

Last July 1-7, for instance, North Carolina experienced an 11 percent decrease in fatalities from the year prior.

To help encourage that downward trend, NCGHSP teamed up with Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to kick-off the annual statewide ‘Operation Firecracker’ ‘Booze It & Lose It’ enhanced enforcement campaign.

As part of the campaign, teams of MCASCP military, law enforcementfirefighters and first responders used roadside message boards to encourage safe, sober driving. More than 500 law enforcement agencies around the state are also increasing their presence this week and sharing these simple messages throughout their communities and online: This Drive-Through is to Remind You to Drive Sober this 4th of July. Booze It & Lose It. Don’t Drink and Drive. App your ride. Don’t Drink and Drive. Call a friend. Don’t Drink and Drive. Take public transportation. Don’t Drink and Drive. Take a cab. Don’t Drink and Drive. Show your support #KeysFreeNC
This year, amidst COVID-19, it’s unclear if impaired driving over the holiday weekend will plague our roadways.

But what is clear is that leaders statewide are concerned about the implications impaired driving will have on our state, particularly this upcoming holiday.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Program released a video following today’s kick-off event.

The video includes messages of support from the NCGHSP’s director, Mark Ezzell, as well as Mikel Huber, Base Commander Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes and his office, Pastor M. Luther Hill, who serves as the Clinton Chapel AME ZION Church and the chaplain of the New Bern Police Department, and First Lady Kristen Cooper.

For those who have a social media platform, show NCGHSP how you are celebrating safely. Mention @NCGHSP on Facebook and tag @NC_GHSP on Twitter and Instagram with #KeysFreeNC and #NCGHSP to show that you are celebrating safely.   Overhead Signs Statewide.png  


Shared by IRPO–U.S. 64/74A Storm Damage Repaired

LAKE LURE – A section of U.S. 64/74A in Rutherford County has been repaired, repaved and reopened after heavy rains damaged the area on May 19. N.C. Department of Transportation crews removed debris from the stream and a culvert at the intersection with Rock Branch Road, about 6.5 miles east of Lake Lure. Crews also cut and removed an undermined portion of asphalt on the highway and added a new stone base before repaving the final surface on Monday.

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media.


Shared by IRPO–Who isn’t responding to the Census in North Carolina?

Parts of the Isothermal RPO are in the bottom 20% for Census 2020 self-response rate including tracts around Lake Lure, around Marion, and a few in Polk County.

See below for a detailed report by County:

McDowell County 

Polk County 

Rutherford County 

A complete and accurate census count is incredibly important. The census shapes how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed, how congressional seats are apportioned, and how communities plan for their future residents. So, if you haven’t done so, please fill out your Census form online, by phone or send it in by mail. If you did not get a form in the mail, go here: and select the link that says, “If you do not have a Census ID, click here.” It is located below the Census ID login field.