Traffic

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

New emissions rules for one category of cars and light trucks take effect today in North Carolina. 

The state Division of Motor Vehicles in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has created an exemption for emissions inspections. 

Tom Mather works for the state Division of Air Quality.  He says annual emissions inspections will no longer be required for newer vehicles.

"It applies as long as your car has less than 70,000 miles and is in the first three model years."

A picture of black ice outside WUNC.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

Whether your road has been plowed or not, you might want to think twice before heading out today, and to be really careful if you do. There's black ice everywhere.

(I took a spill in the parking lot just outside our studios, which was plowed yesterday.)  

After clearing main roadways of the heavy snow yesterday, the North Carolina Department of Transportation Department plows will hit neighborhoods today.  

But NCDOT Spokesman Steve Abbott warns that black ice will make driving risky throughout the morning.

A picture of an ice warning road sign.
Petelewisr / Wikipedia

Much of central North Carolina was hit with freezing rain overnight.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Sharp says ice will linger throughout the morning.

“Temperatures here across the Triangle today are in the upper 20s, and probably will not rise much above freezing until about lunchtime or so.”

North Carolina Department of Transportation Spokesman Steve Abbott says salt trucks were busy yesterday, and the roads themselves are mostly dry.

Photo: A four-way highway intersection at sunset
Flickr user Tom

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved a bill that would allow police to use photo cameras on state roads to track license plates.

The idea is that the cameras would take pictures of license plates, and police could use them to, for example, find a fugitive. Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) says that could have helped Guilford County investigators on a recent case.

"Had this technology been available, at a right of way, it would've been possible to track down the individual who had committed the crime," Robinson says.

A screenshot captured Saturday at Mirlo Beach near Rodanthe shows the surf advancing on Highway 12.
NCDOT / facebook.com

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $20.3 million contract for beach re-nourishment just north of Rodanthe. The contract is going to the same Illinois dredging company that re-nourished the beach in Nags Head just before Hurricane Irene hit the area in 2011, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, of Illinois.

A map of the Strategic Transportation Investments proposed projects.
NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has ranked 3,100 proposed transportation projects. They're all vying for a chunk of the $15 billion expected to be allocated in the 2015 Transportation Improvement Program.

NCDOT's Chief Deputy Secretary Nick Tennyson said the department prioritized projects that would alleviate serious, ongoing traffic congestion. For that reason, many of the higher ranked projects are in the Triangle and Charlotte areas.

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

Nearly 2.8 million North Carolinians are expected to travel for Christmas or New Year's vacations.

Gas prices and air fares are holding steady, but 48,500 more people plan to travel for the holidays this year than last, according to AAA Carolinas.

Spokeswoman Angela Daley says that could be due to the improving economy. She says the weeks that include Christmas and New Year's Day are the most popular travel time, and it's also the longest. Daley says that makes it easier for people to plan trips at their convenience.

The NCDOT is showing color coded routes under consideration for the 540 extension from Holly Springs to Knightdale.
NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is considering 17 alternative routes to complete construction on the I-540 beltway around Raleigh.

Project Manager Eric Midkiff says that's down from hundreds of options the North Carolina Department of Transportation has already considered.

In the 1990s, the DOT established a likely location for the roadway.   The so-called Orange Route was protected from development in anticipation of the 540 loop.

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

Increasingly congested roadways are worrying officials in Raleigh.

The City Council has submitted a "wish list" of road improvement projects to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It includes a proposal to add lanes to I-540 on the north side of the city.

The council doesn't expect the state to fund the project, so it suggested paying for the 108 million-dollar expansion by setting up tolls on the roadway.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin says she knows tolls would not be popular, but she thinks breaking up traffic jams would be.

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

Cheaper gas prices and a recovering economy could mean more people hitting the road for the Thanksgiving holiday this week.

AAA Carolinas says gas is $.07 cheaper than last year, but almost $.30 less-expensive than it was Labor Day weekend. Spokeswoman Angela Daley says 36,000 more people plan to travel by car for the holiday this year.  She says the increase in traffic is most likely a sign of economic recovery.

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