I-40: A 12-Year (and counting) Partnership
- August 13, 2020
- Posted by: Joe Milazzo II
- Category: Blog
This week, we held the 12th annual meeting of the I-40 Regional Partnership, coordinated by the RTA business coalition in concert with the NC Department of Transportation.
Two of those phrases — “12th annual” and “regional partnership” — are very satisfying. They speak to the longevity of an effective, cooperative relationship between the public and private sector in the region.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the history of the partnership over the past decade-plus, and what’s ahead.
I-40 Partnership – background
The regional business community and NCDOT cooperatively launched the Partnership initiative to provide focus and engagement on what we like to call the “Triangle’s Main Street.” Namely, the stretch of Interstate 40 between I-85 and I-95 across Orange, Durham, Wake, and Johnston counties.
Since the spring of 2009, RTA business leaders, member transportation firms, regional planning and municipal partners, and a myriad of NCDOT departments and divisions have come together with the purpose of protecting and enhancing the I-40 corridor for travel and commerce.
Meredith McDiarmid, PE, NCDOT State Transportation Systems Management and Operations Engineer, has served as the I-40 Regional Partnership Executive since the initiative began.
The I-40 Regional Partnership meeting, held at least annually since 2009, has served to strengthen relationships and improve information sharing across agencies and jurisdictions. It has also successfully served as a cooperative platform to advance a number of projects including the implementation of North Carolina’s first Bus On Shoulder System (BOSS) segments as well as the state’s introduction of freeway on-ramp signals.
The Partnership is one more example of what RTA and our partners do each and every day together — leveraging shared expertise and diverse perspectives to accelerate ideas and improve regional mobility.
What’s new with the I-40 Partnership
Examining ways to improve the travel experience and identifying low-cost funding opportunities for I-40 and parallel/reliever routes continue to be key focus areas for the Partnership. Given the current funding situation facing our state, these focus areas are more important than ever.
We are also committed to helping transform I-40 into a multimodal freeway where public transit and vanpools receive priority in design and operations. This could include the potential of introducing express shoulder managed lanes, a concept that was first introduced through the I-40 Partnership several years ago, as well as further expansion of the BOSS network along I-40 and other regional freeways.
In addition, we support the I-40 “managed motorways” effort to implement active freeway management tools along I-40, including the expansion of on-ramp signals and the incorporation of transit bypass/priority measures along all managed freeway elements.
Our 12th annual meeting that took place on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020 highlighted these and many other initiatives — including the new regional FAST study — and provided status updates for over a dozen active and upcoming projects in the Triangle area.
I-40 Partnership – looking ahead
The continued viability of I-40 in our region will remain of paramount importance for travel and commerce. While we expect a significant level of working-from-home activity to continue even after the pandemic gets under control, we also know that not all jobs, and certainly not all activities, can be done remotely — and we also know that our region will continue to grow.
The business community will continue to focus on sustainable statewide funding and lower-cost solutions that we can scale over time. We have engaged a number of RTA leaders and member engineering firms on these items, and look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks, up to and including our annual meeting in a few months.
On behalf of the entire Regional Transportation Alliance, we thank NCDOT, our municipalities, regional planners, transit partners and so many more for keeping residents and guests of our area moving efficiently, easily, and safely.
Let’s get moving,
Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director
RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation