The US 70 Clayton Bypass is a contender for national honors as an innovative highway project that was constructed and opened to traffic ahead of time.
The question for commuters is: Does it get you to work ahead of time?
Your online vote can help decide the winner in this national contest.
Please let me hear about your experience with the new US 70 route around Clayton to I-40, which opened in June 2008:
- Has it quickened the pace of your daily drive, or did it merely relocate your traffic jam?
- Does the extra technology -- speed information signs, cameras etc -- help you?
- Did they do this one right?
Call me at 919-829-4527 or e-mail me. Don't forget to include your workday contact info.
The AAA motor club and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have named the Clayton Bypass as one of 10 finalists in the 2009 America's Transportation Awards competition. Judges will make the final call in late October, and the public also is involved in online voting for the "people's choice" favorite.
Judges evaluated 50 projects from 33 states. The Clayton Bypass and another North Carolina offering, an Ocracoke Island bridge replacement project, were tapped as two of the best five in the southeast.
NCDOT included some innovative features when it built the Clayton Bypass, including extra technology to help drivers figure out the best route to take to I-40 each day -- the old US 70 Business route, shorter but punctuated with 11 stoplights, or the new four-lane freeway. Other innovations are supposed to provide environmental protection for the scenic streams the bypass crosses.
But let's check the hype here. Did they finish construction ahead of time? Yes, but the start of construction was delayed for years, and the pricetag was increased, because of environmental problems.
And how much time does it save for drivers?
NCDOT's recent announcement about southeastern regional honors said motorists on US 70 "can expect to save about 15 minutes of travel time by using the new bypass."
But the AASHTO-AAA announcement doubles this claim. Its promotional tag for the Clayton Bypass contest entry is "Trimming 30 Minutes from Commute."
I don't care what they say. I want to know what you say.