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You can't get there: Sandy cancels trains, planes and buses to the Northeast.

Throw your ticket out the window.

Amtrak isn't going anywhere north of North Carolina today. Megabus isn't going there. The airlines aren't going there, and many of them have already canceled Tuesday flights, too.

Hurricane Sandy has closed airports and canceled hundreds of trains and flights.

Check the RDU Airport homepage, and you'll see scores of cancellations. Many flights that aren't canceled yet will be canceled later.  If you have any doubts, call your airline -- if you can get through. They're flooded with phone calls.

Here are some of the latest alerts, via Twitter. ... [MORE]

DOT will air plans to replace two U.S. 301 bridges near Smithfield

View Johnston County U.S. 301 bridges in a larger map

The state Department of Transportation says it will hold a public information session Tuesday to discuss plans for replacing two bridges on U.S. 301 south of Smithfield.

The meeting will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Pentecostals of Smithfield Church, 3020 S. Brightleaf Blvd., Smithfield. Engineers will answer questions about the project and discuss detour routes. Both bridges were constructed in 1926 and are classified as functionally obsolete.

The two-lane bridges, about one mile apart, carry about 11,000 cars and trucks each day. Tentative plans call for construction to start in the summer of 2015 on the U.S. 301 bridge over Holt's Lake, followed by construction of the U.S. 301 bridge over the Neuse River. Each bridge will be closed and traffic will be detoured for about six months.

Construction began this fall a few miles away on a replacement for the U.S. 70 Business bridge over the Neuse River, at the western edge of downtown Smithfield. The bridge is expected to reopen in the summer of 2013.

Big new ideas for Wade Ave. & Peace St. bridges on Capital Blvd

Proposed 'square loop' interchange, Peace Street @ Capital Blvd

At a public information meeting Monday, NCDOT and the city of Raleigh will air their refined plans for overhauling the obsolete interchanges that carry Capital Boulevard over Peace Street and under Wade Avenue in downtown Raleigh. (See story in Saturday's N&O with reader comments.)

NCDOT has information on a dedicated website for its Capital Boulevard bridges project, but the site has not been updated to include the six design options that will be submitted for public comment at Monday's meeting (5-7 p.m.,  Progress Energy Center, Fletcher Opera Hall lobby, 2 E. South Street).

For the latest on the current options, see the most recent project newsletter and a handout prepared for Monday's meeting, both attached below to this blog post.

Amtrak ridership is up, especially between Raleigh and Charlotte

PiedmontAmtrak says it carried a record 31.2 million passengers nationwide last year, and its biggest ridership boost was recorded on the Raleigh-to-Charlotte Piedmont run.

The state-subsidized Piedmont counted 162,657 riders and collected $3.1 million for their tickets in fiscal year 2012, which ended Sept. 30. That's an increase of 16.2 percent in riders from the previous year – the most growth on any Amtrak line – and a 23.2 percent increase in ticket revenues.  Traffic on the Carolinian, from New York to Charlotte, fell slightly to 306,419 riders.

The Piedmont and Carolinian make seven stops between Raleigh and Charlotte.  Piedmont passenger counts have increased since the schedule was doubled in 2010, with the introduction of a second daily round-trip run. The schedule was curtailed for two months in 2011 to allow for track improvements.

DOT will study economic impact of its $4.4 billion I-95 toll proposal

View NC tolls for I-95 in a larger map

The state Department of Transportation says it will spend six months and $1.6 million to assess the economic impacts of its proposal to pay for a $4.4 billion widening and overhaul of Interstate 95 by collecting tolls from drivers. (See 2/12/12 story with map and photos.)

"This study is in response to the people and businesses of North Carolina and their concerns voiced during the first stage of our study process,” said Roberto Canales, a DOT engineer overseeing the I-95 effort. “We want to make the right decisions for the citizens of North Carolina as we move forward.”

It also is in response to orders from legislators.

After the DOT tolling proposal was attacked by truckers, local drivers and local, state and national politicians from Lumberton to Washington, the General Assembly this year ordered DOT to conduct a new study that would consider: ... [MORE]

National honors for Triangle Transit's second-best video

Triangle Transit and GoTriangle have won the American Public Transportation Association's AdWheel Award for social media marketing and communications -- for their first stab at the youth market in "It's Easy, Baby," a transit-promo video featuring three cute toddlers who play grown-up bus commuters.

This is easily the second-best video on GoTriangle's YouTube page -- after the terrific #flipfortransit production that features older youngsters exercising their extraordinary passion for bus travel at various Triangle locales. (See 2/24/12 Road Worrier column.)

Nighttime repairs will close NC 86 bridge over I-85 at Hillsborough

View NC 86 bridge over I-85 @ Hillsborough in a larger map

Repair work will close the N.C. 86 bridge over I-85 (Exit 165) at night for a week or more, starting Tuesday, Oct. 2, the state Department of Transportation said.

The bridge will be closed between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. each night for milling, paving and bridge deck slab repairs.  The work is expected to take at least 7 to 10 nights.

Detours will be marked, directing northbound drivers on N.C. 86 to go north on I-85 to Exit 170 and return to Exit 185.  Southbound drivers on N.C. 86 will be detoured via Old N.C. 86 (Exit 164).

Smithfield's busy US 70 Business bridge will close Tuesday for up to 8 months

US 70 Business bridge over Neuse River at Smithfield Smithfield residents, downtown businesses and Johnston County commuters aren’t sure how they will handle the scheduled closing for six to eight months of the busy U.S. 70 Business bridge over the Neuse River, starting Tuesday evening, Sept. 25. (See 9/23 Smithfield Herald story.)

The state Department of Transportation is replacing the five-lane bridge, built in 1923, at the west edge of downtown. Demolition will start this week as soon as the old bridge is closed.

The new structure will be expanded to include a pedestrian walkway on the north side and a combination bicycle-pedestrian path on the south side. D.H. Griffin Construction Co. of Raleigh won a $5.3 million contract to build the new bridge.

While the Neuse bridge is closed, the 25,000 cars and trucks that use it each day will be diverted to other routes. ... [MORE]

Feds steer another $22.3 million to Raleigh's Amtrak Union Station

Artist rendering: Union StationJoseph Szabo, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration, visited Raleigh's warehouse district this morning to announce an additional $22.3 million in federal funds that will complete the cost of a a $60 million replacement for Raleigh's outmoded, dinky Amtrak station. [2pm update: see Matt Garfield's story from today's announcement.]

It's not new money.  There is $15.1 million that was part of $545 million in federal stimulus (ARRA) money for fast-train improvements, announced in 2010.  The $15.1 million was a small part of that big package that was not designated in advance for a particular project.  And another $6.7 million (not mentioned by Szabo today) that had been marked for track improvements in that same original $545 million package.

This money is added to a $21 million federal TIGER grant -- which WAS new money -- that Raleigh won in June. Plus $466,000 announced today, to help with preliminary engineering costs. ... [MORE]

#flipfortransit video gets off the bus

Check out this jaw-dropping video of four remarkable athletes who turn Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill locations into their personal Jackie Chan playground. [2/24/12 update: See Road Worrier column.]

What are they promoting?  Public transit.  This is Try Transit Week (bus rides are free today, Thursday). The "#flipfortransit" video was posted by GoTriangle, a  marketing arm for transit agencies in Wake, Durham and Orange counties. (Find this and other bus-riding videos, including one with cute preschoolers, at

And when they get back on the bus, they're not even breathing hard.

Here are the credits:

Ready to flip for transit? Follow four athletes as they use a combination of parkour, freerunning and public transportation to move around the Triangle.
Athletes: Alan Tran, Ben Webster, Chris Bess, Devante Thomas
Shot and edited by Dominic Sansotta
Additional footage from Tyler Blackmon
Special thanks to for providing athlete's clothing.
To learn more about the athletes who made this project possible, visit
To see more of Dominic Sansotta's work, check out


I didn't know what parkour is, or what freerunning is. Now I know.