Commentary by Wesley Hyatt

There’s good and bad news in the State transportation improvement program proposed for the next decade.

The good news is that the NCDOT plans to widen NC-54 from Glen Lennox to the Parkwood neighborhood in Durham. Hallelujah, even if construction won’t start for another eight years. The bad news is that there are no plans to widen I-40 between Hillsborough and 15-501. Are you kidding me, NCDOT? I-40 is at least six lanes for more than one hundred miles between Winston-Salem and Raleigh, except for about eleven miles in Orange County.

Long backups already are happening every Friday at the chokepoint when I-40 goes from six to four lanes heading west into Chapel Hill, and they’re only going to get worse because all of the Triangle and Triad counties are continuing to gain population. Plus, as the longest interstate highway in North Carolina, connecting the mountains to the coast, it’s only going to get more crowded by other travelers in the state.

It simply makes no sense not to address the situation now, rather than wait till after 2027 to start work. More good news: there will be a public comment period this Spring on the plan, although specific times and dates haven’t been announced yet.

Follow local news sources, such as WCHL and Chapelboro, to learn when they are confirmed. Then go and tell the NCDOT to avoid this folly and act on widening I-40 sooner rather than later.