Workers at a Piedmont Improvement Project site.

The state is expanding track capacity on the rail line connecting Raleigh and Charlotte. It's part of the Piedmont Improvement Project, which received $520 million dollars in federal funding.

A picture of a traffic stop
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

Greensboro's police chief is reporting a steep drop in racially disparate traffic stops.

A picture of a highway traffic jam.
Simon Forsyth / Flickr

Fortify project crews have begun to reduce the roadway from five lanes to four on the I-40/440 split to Hammond Road, and from four lanes to three from Hammond Road to Lake Wheeler Road.

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.

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.

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.

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.

One of ten posters Raleigh has distributed to residential areas where the city says drivers are speeding.
City of Raleigh

The city of Raleigh has started a pilot program designed to discourage drivers from speeding in residential areas. 

City staff members are distributing yard signs, posters and advertisements along five roads, where they say drivers are more likely to speed.  They include areas of Quail Hollow Drive, Wide River Drive, Oakwood Avenue, Clark Avenue and Ridge Road.

Ramp meter
David Levinson / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina's Department of Transportation says it might put traffic signals on Interstate entrance ramps to help relieve traffic jams in the Triangle. 

The lights known as ramp meters allow one car at a time to enter the freeway in order to ease the merging process during rush hours.  NCDOT engineer Battle Whitley says they could help traffic in areas where it tends to slow down during the morning and evening commutes.

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

As the summer begins to wind down, lots of folks will be hitting the road and getting in last trips to favorite water recreational areas this Labor Day weekend. Troopers will be joining forces with officers from the state Wildlife Resources Commission to keep roadways and waterways safe.  First Sergeant Jeff Gordon from the state Highway Patrol says last Labor Day weekend 18 people lost their lives and more than 400 were injured on North Carolina roads.

Traffic Jam
Texas A&M Urban Mobility Report

Drivers in the Triangle spend less time dealing with traffic jams and congestion than most other metropolitan areas of a similar size. Texas Transportation Institute recently released its annual Urban Mobility Report.

The red-light camera program at select intersections in Cary could be eliminated over multiple concerns, among them complaints the system is wrongfully issuing citations. The system is operated by the company Redflex. It collects nearly 90-percent of the revenue from traffic violations captured by the cameras. Town Manager Ben Shivar says local officials have have been less than impressed by the company's performance.

Some Triangle bus riders won't be slowed by heavy traffic thanks to a pilot program starting today. 

Gurnal Scott: The Bus on Shoulder System, or BOSS, is up and running in 12 other states. Triangle Transit is working with the state DOT to find the best way to keep buses moving when traffic on a section of I-40 in Durham County slows down or stops.

Brad Schultz:  One of the things that frustrates transit riders the most is delays in traffic and when they cannot get to their location on time.

The summertime travel season gets underway today. Officials at the State Department of Transportation are suspending most road works for the Memorial Day weekend. Tom Crosby works for AAA Carolinas. He says nearly a million drivers will be on North Carolina roads and highways this weekend, partly because gas prices have dropped from this time last year.