The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to widen and upgrade a 19-mile stretch of U.S. 64, including 10 miles in Chatham County. The expansion would create a limited-access, high-speed route from Raleigh to Charlotte. Chatham County Commissioners oppose the plan for economic and environmental reasons.
More than five years ago, NCDOT launched an initial study of the entire U.S. 64-N.C. 49 corridor. In a May 2005 report, state transportation officials concluded that the corridor should be improved to allow faster travel between Raleigh and Charlotte, based on projections that an estimated 1.2 million new residents are anticipated to move within 30 miles of downtown Raleigh by 2030.
It takes three hours to drive the 130 miles from Raleigh to Charlotte along U.S. 64-N.C. 49, but it's uncertain how much time would be shaved off the commute if the corridor were upgraded, says Dan Thomas, an engineer with the state transportation department's planning branch overseeing the study.
Nonetheless, in 2007, NCDOT forged ahead with a second study phase, focusing on Chatham County between U.S. 1 and the Pittsboro Bypass.
Go to the N.C. DOT's website devoted to the project. Copies of the report will also be available at the Pittsboro Memorial Library, 158 West St.
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Technical Advisory Committee holds a public hearing on the Draft Corridor Study Report Wednesday, May 19, at 4 p.m. in the CAMPO conference room, 127 W. Hargett St., eighth floor, Raleigh.
You can comment on the Draft Corridor Study Report through June 15.
By mail: Dan Thomas, NCDOT Transportation Planning Branch 1554 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1554
By fax: 715-1160
Late June–July: Corridor Study Team reviews public comments and makes final changes to the Draft Corridor Study Report
August: CAMPO and local officials determine the level of support for the project and make a recommendation on the study