The US 70 Corridor Commission envisions converting the corridor to a full freeway, replacing traffic signals with interchanges and driveways with rear - or side - access to a connected secondary street system.  The intended benefits of a full freeway are three-fold:

1. Improve safety of travelers
2. Reduce travel time
3. Attract and retain employment and commercial activity

At its March meeting, the US 70 Corridor Commission unveiled the US 70 Access Management Handbook for consideration of its members. The handbook is intended to be used as an educational and implementation tool when applying access management strategies to the US 70 corridor. It provides measures and minimum standards consistent with the previous planning process along the corridor, and sets reasonable expectations for protecting the integrity of the transportation corridor. Included in the handbook is the draft model access management overlay ordinance—a legal framework for cities and counties to administer and enforce consistent access management standards along the entire 134-mile corridor.

Click here to review or download the updated handbook.

PROTECTING THE FUTURE OF US 70
In August 2006, representatives from US 70 communities met in county-by-county work sessions to create a clear vision for a freeway corridor. With transportation planners and engineers from Kimley-Horn and NCDOT, the participants mapped out potential interchange locations and connector roads that would both improve mobility on US 70 and maintain accessibility to local roads and businesses. A freeway master plan will be created as a result of these meetings and build upon the access management plan. The counties, cities, and towns along the corridor are in the process of gaining endorsements from their elected bodies for the access management plan and will work to do the same for the freeway master plan upon its completion.

Short-term improvements recommended will improve regional mobility along the corridor and reserve the opportunity to build a freeway in the long-term planning horizon. Retrofitting US 70, though, will have a profound impact on properties located in close proximity to the corridor. Land use, building placement, design orientation, landscaping, sign size and placement, and site access requirements included will need to be re-written. Communities along the corridor will need to come together for implementing minimum criteria that protects the intended function of the freeway. More importantly, these communities will need to act in unison for adopting plans, policies, and minimum design criteria that move US 70 towards a freeway. In conjunction with the freeway plan, the local governments are also being asked to adopt a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to address land control issues along the corridor. Its purpose is to serve the first step in unifying state and local jurisdictions for implementing regulatory tools and policy measures. For more information, refer to the September presentation to the Commission.