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fillup420:

--- Quote from: sprjus4 on May 16, 2021, 06:06:24 AM ---
--- Quote from: architect77 on May 16, 2021, 05:23:04 AM ---NCDOT has almost completed widening I-85 through the entire state. It won't ever do it right at the borders, because that would only help out of staters lol.
--- End quote ---
I can reasonably see them expediting the portion from US-74 to the South Carolina line, especially now that South Carolina (a miracle on its own) is going to the state line.

The portion north of Durham all the way to Petersburg, VA doesnít have the numbers or traffic congestion to warrant any more than 4 lanes. The last substandard portion, north of Henderson, has been modernized and reconstructed, and the highway is now posted at 70 mph throughout.

Overall, North Carolina has done a very good job with I-85. Attention is now going to turn to I-95, now ongoing with the over 50 miles of 8 lane widening, then hopefully with more 6 lane widening planned eventually for the entire duration. The highway honestly needs it all the way through due to peak volumes making the highway unreliable. I-85 sees peak volumes, though I donít think the portion north of Durham gets to the point where a third lane is needed even then. I-95 is another story.

Hereís something that will never happen - VDOT widening I-95 to 6 lanes between the North Carolina state line and I-295.

--- End quote ---

The only part of I-85 in the state that still hasn't been upgraded from the original construction is in Orange county between I-40 and NC 147. It really needs another lane each way. The unofficial speed limit is about 80, and there's one steep uphill southbound that catches lots of truckers by surprise. This creates  a sketchy passing situation where the faster traffic starts weaving around the slow trucks and normal speed cars. Lots of accidents happen along this stretch.

sprjus4:
^

I will agree, that segment needs to be widened to 6 lanes and modernized completely.

They also ought to raise the speed limit on I-85 / I-40 between Greensboro and Durham to 70 mph. That 8 lane segment can easily handle it, real speeds are often in excess of 80 mph, and reasonably so, the highway is straight, wide, and 65 mph is universally ignored. Itís like this regionís version of the New Jersey Turnpike.

cowboy_wilhelm:
Widening I-85 from the Catawba River to the South Carolina line has been met with the same delays other projects have faced. The only section moving forward at this time is the eight-lane widening to U.S. 321 (I-5719), which looks like it should start in 2024. I believe it was originally slated to begin this year. This project is going to be a nightmare with the number of interchanges and overpasses that have to be reconstructed. The Norfolk Southern Railway's mainline has to be relocated... twice.

The section from U.S. 321 to U.S. 74 isn't awful, but is approaching capacity. At one point they were wanting to complete the six-lane widening between U.S. 74 and the state line before starting on the eight-lane widening between U.S. 321 and U.S. 74, but everything has been delayed anyway. The traffic volumes really aren't that high south of U.S. 74 and have been pretty stable over the last 15 years. Both projects were combined into project I-5985 and split into segments A and B for planning and environmental purposes. I don't see why they couldn't have two lanes drop and add at U.S. 74 like I-85 sort of does at the I-40 interchange near Hillsborough.

What amazes me is the project to improve the I-85/I-485 interchange west of Charlotte (I-6016) isn't planned to start until 2027. That interchange has been a cluster for so long already.

sprjus4:

--- Quote from: cowboy_wilhelm on May 16, 2021, 11:50:29 AM ---The traffic volumes really aren't that high south of U.S. 74 and have been pretty stable over the last 15 years.

--- End quote ---
That's true, but when South Carolina finishes their project, you're going to have 6 lanes going to 4 at the state line, then in less than 10 miles back out to 6 lanes.

That will likely increase the need to simply close the gap, especially if backups start becoming a thing at the border when the lane drops.

architect77:

--- Quote from: sprjus4 on May 16, 2021, 12:34:54 PM ---
--- Quote from: cowboy_wilhelm on May 16, 2021, 11:50:29 AM ---The traffic volumes really aren't that high south of U.S. 74 and have been pretty stable over the last 15 years.

--- End quote ---
That's true, but when South Carolina finishes their project, you're going to have 6 lanes going to 4 at the state line, then in less than 10 miles back out to 6 lanes.

That will likely increase the need to simply close the gap, especially if backups start becoming a thing at the border when the lane drops.

--- End quote ---

I agree that this will incease the urgency for this small section, but if I had to choose priorities, I'd focus on widening I-77.

Now I know that Charlotte chose to do I-485, I -85, HOV and toll lanes first which used decades-worth of funding for the division.

Now this decade Wake County has  a lot projects going on after waiting a long time.

But I-77 now stands out as a dire need. It's the 1st or 2nd most heavily used freeway in the state and Charlotte business leaders should try to come up with a way to fund it asap.

Just 10 years ago people on I-85 got a dangerous surprise as suddenly they were on the old Yadkin River bridge without warning and no room for error or it would be deadly.

But Bev Perdue found $400 million from somewhere to replace that bridge thankfully.

I thought I had read that I-85 through Gaston county was going to be widened again to get a 4th lane in each direction.

I endured the first construction project in the 90s going back and forth from Raleigh to Atlanta and it was awful, dragging on for years with long backups. US29/74 was the official alternate and I-485 hadn't even reached i-85 yet.

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