NCDOT projects involving Estes Drive

From a neighbor, regarding NCDOT projects involving Estes Road:

I have found not only the listing of three Estes Drive projects on the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) site:

http://www.ncdot.org/projects/search/#t=1780

but also a listing of the priority given to these projects when they were submitted to the Dept. of Transportation by our Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO). [I was not even aware that that there is such a group, but apparently, according to Wikipedia, a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is a federally mandated (and funded) transportation policy-making organization in the United States that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities (for any urbanized area with a population greater than 50,000)]. In any case, our area MPO – DCHC MPO — apparently rates various highway projects from our Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro area.

Here’s the status for the three Estes Drive projects (last rated by our Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO on October 26, 2011). First, the roundabout at Estes and Greensboro Street was ranked #53 by our DCHC MPO and was not funded by the NCDOT and is to be rescheduled for reprioritization. Second, the widening of Estes between Greensboro Street and MLK to add bike lanes, sidewalks and transit accommodations was ranked #1 by our DCHC MPO and was costed out at $2,197,000 but was not funded and is to reprioritized. Third, and of greatest interest to many of us, is the project Dan reported in his email: the widening of the existing Estes roadway between MLK and Caswell to include two 12-foot lanes, four-foot bicycle lanes and sidewalks. This project got a ranking of #25 by our DCHC MPO and was not funded by the NCDOT and is, as the other two Estes Road projects, to be reprioritized. [I’m not clear about when that process will occur.]

So the widening of Estes along the proposed Carolina Flats development is on the planning list but apparently off in the future. However, it does sound like the widening of Estes between Greensboro Street and MLK is not too far off.  The two documents which outline all area projects – bicycle and pedestrian as well as highway are:

1. NC-DOT Document (Highway Projects in the SPOT Database

2. DCHC MPO Regional Prioritization Methology 2011-10-26

I am not sure if the widening of Estes between MLK and Caswell – apparently a two-lane, not a four-lane effort – will require added land on one or both sides of the current road; its also not clear which end of Caswell is the end of the project. This project would make only one significant change — the adding of bike lanes — along with a second sidewalk.

 

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One response to “NCDOT projects involving Estes Drive

  1. Thanks for the really helpful information on how road widening projects get on the MPO list. My understanding is that every year each elected board looks at their list of needs and reprioritizes them. That recommendation is then forwarded to the Durham, Chapel Hill MPO who decides how to allocate the Federal funds. The important thing to note is that the decisions about funding projects are not top down but bottom up. The Council, our elected representatives, will decide what ranking to give Estes Drive each year. That should make some of us feel better.

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