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Experiment in Durham puts buses on side of the road

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If you're driving I-40 in the next few months and see a bus rolling along the shoulder, it's probably not in trouble.

It's in an experiment.

NCDOT, Triangle Transit and several other members of an "I-40 Partnership" are going to try out a "bus on shoulder system" on a section of I-40 in southern Durham County. The system allows public-transit buses to use the shoulder as a regular lane of travel.

"It's a great tool we can use to promote more bus transit ridership," said City Councilman Mike Woodard.

City Transportation Director said the experiment is based on established bus-on-shoulder systems in other cities. It came out of the I-40 Partnership's effort to decrease congestion on the region's most heavily traveled thoroughfare.

"It basically serves as the Triangle's Main Street," he said.

Bus-on-shoulder is going into effect within the next six months, said Meredith McDiarmid, the I-40 "Corridor Executive" with NCDOT. Its first sections will be westbound from N.C. 147 to U.S. 15-501 and eastbound from 15-501 to Page Road.

Buses will be required to give way to vehicles stopped on the shoulder and emergency vehicles, she said.

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About the blogger

Jim Wise is a Durham News/N&O reporter and columnist who follows city and county government land-use and neighborhood issues. He's author of "Durham: A Bull City Story" and "Durham Tales: The Morris Street Maple, the Plastic Cow, the Durham Day That Was and More ... "