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Author Topic: Charlotte  (Read 50995 times)

Strider

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #225 on: May 15, 2021, 08:03:36 PM »

the I-77/I-85 interchange needs MAJOR renovations. There's a BIG headache with going on it.

Also, I-85 getting express lanes like I-77 is?


Yeah, I agree. I-77/I-85 needs MAJOR renovations. They need to fix that. However, I-85 isn't getting express lanes as it is 8 lanes all the way though Charlotte. Traffic can be bad on that stretch, but none of them requires an express lanes to be built. I don't think there will be a room for it with frontage roads on both sides of I-85 in some areas.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #226 on: May 15, 2021, 08:07:06 PM »

There are now plans for mass transit along the 74/29 to Gastonia, I could actually in this case see it as having an impact.
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sprjus4

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #227 on: May 15, 2021, 08:45:48 PM »

I don't think there will be a room for it with frontage roads on both sides of I-85 in some areas.
See, thatís when you go all Texas and go into the sky.
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architect77

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #228 on: May 16, 2021, 05:23:04 AM »

Also, I-85 getting express lanes like I-77 is?
Donít think so, though I could reasonably see them useful particularly out to Gastonia, alongside 4 general purpose lanes in each direction.

Otherwise, NCDOT has been smart and used common sense on that corridor and is seeing very positive results specifically north and east of the city.

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.

They have been at work on I-85 for a long time, at least 20 years. No more 4 lane stretches.

If they have to rebuild a big interstate now, they ideally will make it 8 lanes and that will be be it since after 4 lanes any additional lane has diminishing returns. 8 lanes is the standard now for NC except at certain locations which may need to be bigger.
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sprjus4

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #229 on: May 16, 2021, 06:06:24 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.
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.
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fillup420

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #230 on: May 16, 2021, 10:18:24 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.
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.

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.
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sprjus4

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #231 on: May 16, 2021, 10:37:01 AM »

^

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.
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #232 on: May 16, 2021, 11:50:29 AM »

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.
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sprjus4

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #233 on: May 16, 2021, 12:34:54 PM »

The traffic volumes really aren't that high south of U.S. 74 and have been pretty stable over the last 15 years.
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.
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architect77

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #234 on: May 26, 2021, 01:43:42 PM »

The traffic volumes really aren't that high south of U.S. 74 and have been pretty stable over the last 15 years.
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.

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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sprjus4

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #235 on: May 26, 2021, 01:51:48 PM »

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.
Specifically, where?

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.
https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/i-85-widening-gaston-county/Pages/default.aspx
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Mileage Mike

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #236 on: May 26, 2021, 03:23:58 PM »

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.
Specifically, where?

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.
https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/i-85-widening-gaston-county/Pages/default.aspx

The portion south of Uptown Charlotte to the SC Border. It's cramped, congested, and subpar for the amount of traffic it carries. It's actually busier than all the other parts of 77 in the region. NC likely hasn't widened yet because of the sheer cost to expand the freeway in that area. It will easily be the most expensive project ever undertaken by the NCDOT.
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sprjus4

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #237 on: May 26, 2021, 03:26:05 PM »

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.
Specifically, where?

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.
https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/i-85-widening-gaston-county/Pages/default.aspx

The portion south of Uptown Charlotte to the SC Border. It's cramped, congested, and subpar for the amount of traffic it carries. It's actually busier than all the other parts of 77 in the region. NC likely hasn't widened yet because of the sheer cost to expand the freeway in that area. It will easily be the most expensive project ever undertaken by the NCDOT.
IIRC, weren't they planning something like 3 or 4 general purpose lanes alongside 1 or 2 HO/T lanes in each direction? IMO, a better and more appropriate location for HO/T lanes, unlike the current ones north of I-485.
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #238 on: May 26, 2021, 09:57:26 PM »

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.

Third if you want to go by the highest count per route from NCDOT's latest AADT data (2019), but we all know there's more to congestion than sheer numbers. I-77's numbers around and north of I-277 have been down the past several years, probably due to all of the HOT construction. I doubt there's enough data available yet (plus COVID) to know what affect those had on volumes.

  • I-40 between Page Rd and I-540 (196,000)... and approximately 7 miles of I-40 between Durham and Raleigh with AADT exceeding 173,000
  • I-85 between Graham St and Sugar Creek Rd (175,000, down from a max of 183,000 in 2017)
  • I-77 between the South Carolina line and Westinghouse Blvd (161,000, max of 163,000 in 2017)

I could be totally wrong on the following estimates, but I-77 does have the greatest number of vehicles per lane in the state between exits 4 and 8 (151,000 AADT / 6 lanes = 25,167). I-85 between exits 22 and 26 is 139,000 AADT / 6 lanes = 23,167. Those estimates take into account auxiliary lanes between exits for the total lane count in other locations. For example, the 196,000 mentioned for I-40 has eight through lanes, an auxiliary lane each direction, and a lane from the I-540 on-ramp that ends after the Page Rd exit, totaling to 11 lanes (17,818 vehicles per lane per day). Even if you only counted through lanes, I think I-77 is still the winner, er, loser.
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #239 on: May 26, 2021, 10:03:51 PM »

The portion south of Uptown Charlotte to the SC Border. It's cramped, congested, and subpar for the amount of traffic it carries. It's actually busier than all the other parts of 77 in the region. NC likely hasn't widened yet because of the sheer cost to expand the freeway in that area. It will easily be the most expensive project ever undertaken by the NCDOT.

I think an estimate at one time for this stretch of I-77 was approaching or exceeding $1 billion? The estimate for the I-26 connector in Asheville is currently that much, and will likely far exceed $1 billion by the time construction starts (delayed until 2024) and finishes.

Edit: To answer my own question, the STIP estimate for I-5718A (South Carolina to I-277) is $800 million and funded 2029/post-year, and another $250 million inside I-277 (I-5718B, unfunded).

I-5718 Project Breakdown Map
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 10:11:47 PM by cowboy_wilhelm »
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architect77

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #240 on: May 30, 2021, 04:03:40 PM »

So, is this to indicate that I-77 widening has some funding and will commence in 2029?

I would have estimated the cost to be double of what they are estimating because of the land acquisition and staging on an active highway. it's a good thing to come in around $ billion I think.

I would like one new general purpose lane though, and not go to all that effort just for 2 HOT lanes in each direction.
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cowboy_wilhelm

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #241 on: May 31, 2021, 10:46:19 AM »

So, is this to indicate that I-77 widening has some funding and will commence in 2029?


Not really. Right-of-way acquisition is tentatively scheduled to begin in FY 2029. Construction is currently unfunded. It was likely scheduled that way just to keep the project in the STIP. Any portion can be accelerated or delayed, depending on funding. I believe projects that far out are subject to reprioritization during the biennial STIP development as well, so it could move either direction. Projects get shuffled around monthly and the STIP isn't etched in stone.

There is a lot of planning, design and preliminary engineering (which also has to be funded) and the final environmental document approved before any of that can happen. Big projects like this one can cost several million dollars before a shovel is even moved.
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LM117

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #242 on: June 29, 2021, 04:04:21 PM »

NCDOT awarded a contract to improve I-85 between exits 36 and 42. Work can start by late July and will wrap up by May 2023.

https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2021/2021-06-29-I-85-improvement-mecklenburg-county.aspx
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LM117

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #243 on: June 30, 2021, 11:11:48 AM »

NCDOT awarded a contract to improve I-85 between exits 36 and 42. Work can start by late July and will wrap up by May 2023.

https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2021/2021-06-29-I-85-improvement-mecklenburg-county.aspx

In addition to this, another contract was awarded to improve several other roads in Mecklenburg County. Work can begin on July 26 and is expected to be complete by August 1, 2022.

https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2021/2021-06-29-improvements-mecklenburg-county.aspx
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LM117

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #244 on: August 31, 2021, 01:20:04 PM »

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architect77

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #245 on: September 04, 2021, 06:58:16 PM »

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.

What's wrong with the 85/485 interchange? It seems to be generously spaced out with long flyovers and ramps. I've never seen the West wall of 485 heavily crowded or backed up, but it could be because I'm always looking at the line of planes coming in to land at CLT.
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Third Strike

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #246 on: September 04, 2021, 08:52:01 PM »

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.

What's wrong with the 85/485 interchange? It seems to be generously spaced out with long flyovers and ramps. I've never seen the West wall of 485 heavily crowded or backed up, but it could be because I'm always looking at the line of planes coming in to land at CLT.

The westbound exit ramps on I-485 bottle neck to one lane. Then that lane immediately drops, and the fourth lane on I-85 becomes an exit lane after crossing the Catawba. Traffic on that part of the interchange and I-85 to Belmont is almost always congested. I do think the I-85/77 and the I-77/277 interchanges are the worst in the metro, but this interchange is pretty close.
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sprjus4

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #247 on: September 05, 2021, 03:41:21 AM »

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.

What's wrong with the 85/485 interchange? It seems to be generously spaced out with long flyovers and ramps. I've never seen the West wall of 485 heavily crowded or backed up, but it could be because I'm always looking at the line of planes coming in to land at CLT.
Iíve personally sat in horrible congestion through that interchange coming from I-485 to I-85 South. Thereís definitely an issue with it, along with its approach onto I-85 South.
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Finrod

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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #248 on: September 05, 2021, 01:49:35 PM »

Iíve personally sat in horrible congestion through that interchange coming from I-485 to I-85 South. Thereís definitely an issue with it, along with its approach onto I-85 South.

Second that; I drive that interchange at most a handful of times in a year, and I've been backed up horribly in it more than a few times.
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Re: Charlotte
« Reply #249 on: September 05, 2021, 04:47:44 PM »

It seems like the congestion got worse on southbound I-85 after they reconfigured the lanes. Previously the left lane ended just after Exit 27 and everyone would cut in at the last second and make stupid decisions that led to lots of hard braking and near misses. I thought it would improve after the update to make the right lane exit at Exit 27, but it seems like it made it worse. I hope the same thing doesn't happen when they make the same change to I-40 at US 15/501 in Durham.
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