Congestion (04-02-03)

A new study shows that more than half of North Carolina 's urban interstate highway sections are congested—more than the national average. Since all interstate highways are built more or less to the same standards, that means there's a lot of traffic on Tar Heel highways.

Wilmington doesn't have any actual urban interstate mileage, and more's the pity. What it does have is an interstate highway that comes within sight of the city limits, and dumps all that traffic on North College Road, which, of course, eventually becomes South College Road (and we all know what that means: often bumper-to-bumper traffic as hapless drivers try to negotiate a gauntlet of stop-lights.). It is almost beyond hope.

Since the road can't be widened anymore, there's going to have to be some thinking outside the box here—like maybe an elevated expressway? It's encouraging to note that there is some thought being given to a South College Road-Oleander Drive interchange instead of the current nerve-frazzling intersection, with its seemingly interminable waits for a green light. Nobody has said exactly what form an interchange might take, but, by definition it would mean that Oleander would go over South College —or vice versa—and you'd be able to go from one to the other without having to stop. A challenge indeed—but something we need!