News Releases

8/19/2014: NCDOT Joins Carolina Coastal Railway and Pitt County to Cut Ribbon on Greenville Rail Project

NCDOT Joins Carolina Coastal Railway and Pitt County to Cut Ribbon on Greenville Rail Project

Posted 8/19/2014 3:11:37 PM

RALEIGH - N.C. Department of Transportation officials helped drive the final spike on the Greenville Transload Project, located next to the Pitt County Landfill in west Greenville. The $290,000 project provides a new siding track adjacent to the existing rail line that will allow local companies to receive and unload their products via the Carolina Coastal Railway Company. “This is a great example of how NCDOT is working to promote economic development in our state by making it easier for companies to ship their product and conduct business,” said NCDOT Deputy Secretary Nick Tennyson. The first shippers to use the project will be eastern Tennessee-based mining company Tennessee Valley Resources, which will ship limestone and fertilizer products to local farmers to be picked up at the new siding. Without the rail line, Tennessee Valley Resources may have to place its product on trucks that would drive more than 400 miles to Greenville. Rail transport in this case is about three times as environmentally efficient as truck transport and reduces heavy truck traffic on the highway network linking Tennessee to eastern North Carolina.   Another beneficiary of the project is Pitt County, which owns the landfill. The project is expected to generate income for the county due to the fees that trucks will pay to use the scales and move freight in and out of the landfill site. This is one of the first projects completed through the Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement Fund, established in 2013 by the General Assembly. The fund utilizes dividends received by the North Carolina Railroad Company to support projects that improve freight service and rail safety across the state. ***NCDOT***
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8/15/2014: Governor’s Highway Safety Program Marks 20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It”

Governor’s Highway Safety Program Marks 20th Anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It”

Posted 8/15/2014 3:13:58 PM

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program today kicked off the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, which runs through Sept. 1. As part of the campaign’s launch, NCDOT and GHSP held a luncheon in Charlotte to recognize the 20th anniversary of “Booze It & Lose It” in North Carolina. Over the past two decades, the state has made great strides to save lives by increasing public awareness about the dangers of driving drunk and stepping up high visibility enforcement efforts to catch those who make the bad decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. “North Carolina has always tackled issues head on,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “Twenty years ago, we knew our state had a problem with drinking and driving. We partnered with law enforcement, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other government agencies to pool our resources to make a real difference. Getting drunk drivers off the road has been and will continue to be one of our top priorities.” GHSP started working with MADD in the 1980s to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, and reinforce the message that lives lost to drunk driving are 100 percent preventable. This team approach to improving safety gained momentum as GHSP partnered with former Gov. Jim Martin’s administration, MADD, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Forensics Test for Alcohol branch, the N.C. Department of Insurance, the Highway Safety Research Center, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and law enforcement to combat the issue. Extraordinary cooperation and commitment resulted in the “Booze It & Lose It” initiative launching in North Carolina in 1994. Since the campaign’s inception, officers have arrested nearly 1.5 million drivers for driving while intoxicated. Despite increased enforcement efforts, 8,469 individuals lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes from 1994 to 2013. Despite two decades of education, awareness and enforcement, people are still making the life-threatening decision to drink and drive. Therefore, the “Booze It & Lose It” partners are constantly looking for new ways to catch drunk drivers and prevent crashes. In 1996, NC DHHS Forensics Test for Alcohol and GHSP launched the Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit. The BAT Mobile can go anywhere and assists law enforcement by providing the ability to test suspected impaired drivers on the scene. Today, there are six in operation with plans to expand the fleet in the near future. In addition to the BAT Mobile, DWI task forces are in operation in areas with the highest number of DWI-related deaths. There are currently nine DWI task forces across the state, located in the following counties, which are dedicated solely to getting drunk drivers off the roads: Forsyth;Guilford;Wake;Mecklenburg;Buncombe;Robeson;Columbus;New Hanover; andBrunswick. The public awareness and education component continues to evolve, as well. The data show males 18-34 are the top offenders when it comes to drunk driving. In an effort to reach this key population and change their behavior, NCDOT and GHSP have produced a new public service announcement that will begin running today on television and digital media. Non-traditional media will also play a significant role in spreading the word about the Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign. GHSP is sharing its anti-drinking and driving messages on Pandora, Facebook and Twitter, as well in restaurants and bars with posters and coasters reminding patrons to have a designated driver. The Labor Day “Booze It & Lose It” campaign begins today, Aug. 15 and ends on Sept. 1. During that time, law enforcement officers will step up patrols statewide day and night, and cite those who make the decision to drive drunk. ***NCDOT***
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8/15/2014: Motorists Shifted to New Lanes of I-440 East as Fortify Project Moves Forward

Motorists Shifted to New Lanes of I-440 East as Fortify Project Moves Forward

Posted 8/15/2014 11:31:50 AM

RALEIGH – The Fortify Project to rebuild sections of I-440 and I-40 in Raleigh took another significant step forward. Traffic on I-440 East through the work zone was shifted overnight from the outside two lanes to the two newly-built inside lanes between the I-495/U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass exit and I-40. The move allows crews to begin rebuilding the outside lanes of I-440 East. The same move was made for I-440 West last month. For drivers going through this three-mile section of the Fortify work zone it means a slight shift farther to the left than they have been making, and a sharper move to the right to access the exits for Poole Road and I-40.  Except for the exit ramps, the outside lanes and shoulder are closed to through traffic for the rest of this phase of the project, which is expected to wrap up late this year. As with many traffic pattern changes, this shift will take some time for drivers to get used to and NCDOT asks motorists to have patience as they learn the new pattern. The department also urges drivers to slow down, use caution and obey the speed limit of 55 mph through the work zone. Because there isn’t shoulder space along I-440 in either direction in the work zone, drivers experiencing car trouble or who have been involved in a minor accident but whose vehicle can still move, should make an effort to get to the next exit, where there is space to pull over and safely get out of the vehicle. If a vehicle cannot be moved, the driver should stay inside, turn on the flashers, and if a cell phone is available, call 911. Getting out of the car puts the driver or passengers into the other travel lane and possibly into the path of on-coming vehicles. Law enforcement, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Assistance Patrols, the contracted towing company and project contractor employees are trained to look for distressed motorists and quickly come to their aid. In addition, NCDOT employees who monitor the traffic cameras along the project site will alert law enforcement and other first responders as soon as they spot an issue. Project Update Now that the rebuilding of the two inside lanes in both directions of I-440 is finished, crews are doing the same work on the outside lane and shoulder in each direction. When that work is done later this year, the project shifts to the larger I-40 section of the project between the I-440/U.S. 1/64 interchange in Cary and the I-440 split in southwest Raleigh. Bridge widening and shoulder preparation work along I-40 has been under way for several months in anticipation of that move. Project Background The Fortify project includes the removal and replacement of the highway surface and substructure along 11.5 miles of interstate on I-40 and I-440. A chemical reaction in the 40-year-old substructure of the roadway is causing it to crumble, and in turn, damaging the road surface. That required constant repairs, and led to concerns of ongoing major travel disruptions along one of the state’s busiest stretches of highway. The initial phase is focused on the I-440 section so that highway would be available as an alternate route for drivers to use to get around the construction on I-40 when it starts. During the I-40 phase, traffic in both directions will be in a three-lane pattern. That is expected to start late this year or in early 2015, with the entire project wrapping up in the Fall of 2016. Commuter Options Because of the expected traffic impact of the project, especially when work is under way full-time on I-40, NCDOT is partnered with Go Triangle, Triangle Transit and Capital Area Transit to promote options to help motorists avoid traveling through the work zone at peak travel times. A Fortify website provides comprehensive information, including alternate transit options, project maps and links to live traffic cameras. Employers can also access online resources to help them develop and implement a flexible work program. The site includes links to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to stay engaged with NCDOT and other commuters. Triangle Transit created new commuting options that include express bus service from Johnston County (JCX) and additional service from eastern Wake County. There is also a new park and ride lot at the Wal-Mart at the Cleveland Crossings Shopping Center at I-40 and N.C. 42 for catching the JCX or meeting with carpoolers and vanpoolers to share a ride. To learn more about finding a carpool or vanpool, visit www.sharetheridenc.org. More new routes, including from Cary through west Raleigh and N.C. State University into downtown Raleigh, as well as a route from Fuquay-Varina into Raleigh are scheduled to begin late this year in anticipation of the project shift to I-40. Bus On Shoulder System (BOSS) is now active along I-40 from Raleigh to Exit 312 for N.C. 42. BOSS enables busses on designated bus routes to travel in the shoulder of the interstate as long as traffic in travel lanes is moving at speeds lower than 35 miles per hour. *** NCDOT ***
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8/7/2014: NCDOT Ferry System Embarks On Late Summer Photo Contest

NCDOT Ferry System Embarks On Late Summer Photo Contest

Posted 8/7/2014 3:14:32 PM

(MANNS HARBOR) - Shutterbugs unite! NCDOT's Ferry Division is inviting photographers of all skill levels to take part in a late summer photography contest highlighting the vital connection between life in Eastern North Carolina and the North Carolina Ferry System. The contest began August 5 and will continue through October 10. "We look forward to seeing how our passengers capture the essence of North Carolina ferry travel," said Ferry Division Communication Officer Tim Hass. "We carry thousands of residents, visitors, commuters, and school kids across coastal waters every year, and we expect there will be an unlimited number of photographs that capture the unique experience of riding the North Carolina Ferry System." Entries will be divided into three categories: Ferries Of The Coast - Photos with an North Carolina Ferry as the main subjectOnboard Adventures - Photos taken while onboard a North Carolina FerrySeafaring Selfies - A picture taken of yourself or your group onboard a North Carolina Ferry All entries should be submitted via the contest page at http://www.ncdot.gov/ferry/photocontest/. Finalists will be selected by NCDOT, and winners will be chosen by a vote on the NC Ferry System Facebook Page. Winners in each category will receive a gift package of ferry memorabilia. ***NCDOT***
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[A woman glances out onto the waters of Hatteras Inlet from a North Carolina Ferry]
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8/7/2014: Seat Belt Usage Tops 90 Percent In North Carolina

Seat Belt Usage Tops 90 Percent In North Carolina

Posted 8/7/2014 11:53:54 AM

Raleigh – Governor Pat McCrory and North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata announced today that 90.6 percent of drivers and passengers in North Carolina are wearing their seat belts. According to the annual seat belt survey completed in June, North Carolina has now achieved the highest seat belt usage rate in state history.   “As the first state to the launch the 'Click It or Ticket' campaign in 1993, North Carolina has long been recognized as a national leader in highway safety,” said Governor McCrory. “We re-emphasize that role today with the results of this survey, which show that a record number of North Carolina motorists are now making the smart decision to buckle up.”     The increase in seat belt usage, particularly among passengers, is due in large part to the joint efforts of the N.C. Department of Transportation, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and law enforcement agencies across the state, who partnered throughout the month of May to increase “Click It or Ticket” education and enforcement efforts.   "I’m proud of the ongoing teamwork that has resulted in our state’s highest seat belt usage rate ever,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “More importantly, I am proud of what these numbers mean – that our citizens are making good decisions that result in more lives saved on our highways.  We will continue to work with the public and law enforcement in our goal to reach 100 percent compliance with the law and zero highway deaths.”   The May “Click It or Ticket” campaign was developed using data from last year’s seat belt survey. This data-driven approach ensured that the outreach efforts successfully reached the right people with the right message.   “Last year’s seat belt survey showed us that passengers were buckling up less often than drivers,” said GHSP Director Don Nail. “With our partners in law enforcement and at NCDOT, we focused our public awareness campaign and enforcement efforts to ensure more passengers knew of and complied with the law requiring them to wear their seat belts just like drivers do.”   During the campaign, local law enforcement and the N.C. Highway Patrol increased patrols in the 25 counties with the highest number of unbelted fatalities and citations, and issued citations day and night to drivers and passengers who were not buckled up.   NCDOT launched an extensive statewide public awareness campaign, focusing on unbuckled passengers in May in conjunction with the increased enforcement effort. It included a new public service announcement - “Every Seat. Every Time.” - that reminded motorists that the law requires you to buckle up no matter where you sit. The PSA was tailored to young males 18-34 who the data show are least likely to buckle up in any seat. The “Every Seat. Every Time.” message was also advertised on the radio, at gas stations, in restaurants and bars, and on social media.  Following the May campaign, North Carolina’s overall seatbelt rate increased 2 percent to 90.6 percent, surpassing 90 percent for the first time. Passenger usage increased 4.8 percent to 89.7 percent, and driver usage increased 1.3 percent to 90.9 percent.   Mecklenburg County had the highest seatbelt usage at 95.6 percent. Franklin County had the lowest seatbelt usage rate at 86.5 percent.    Female drivers buckled up more often than males (93.1 percent versus 89.2 percent), and young drivers ages 16-24 are buckling up 89.1 percent of the time, compared to 85.5 percent last year.     The annual seatbelt survey was conducted throughout the month of June at 120 sites in 15 counties across the state. Trained spotters observed driver and front seat passengers of stopped or nearly stopped vehicles. Observation data was collected during rush hours (weekdays between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., or 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.), non-rush hours (weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) and on weekends (Saturday or Sunday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.). The Research Triangle Institute certified the survey results last week.     The Research Triangle Institute selects counties that offer a representative sample of North Carolina, based on a variety of criteria including county size and fatality rate.     For more information and survey county results, contact NCDOT Marketing Specialist Heather Jeffreys at (919) 707-2665 or visit the GHSP website.                                                                                 ***NCDOT***                                                                                     
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