Why is it Important?
US 15-501 is a regionally significant transportation corridor that connects Durham and Chapel Hill, providing an important connection to I-40. The Triangle Regional Model (the regional travel demand model utilized by NCDOT and other planning agencies to forecast future traffic volumes) indicates that the US 15-501 corridor between Durham and Chapel Hill is over or is approaching capacity. In the absence of improvements, most of the facility is projected to be over capacity by the year 2045, with long delays expected (2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan).
Additionally, land uses along the corridor are changing, and range from open space to dense commercial. The Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit (D-O LRT) will also provide the impetus to changes in land use and development patterns to support more transit oriented development. The open space within the corridor includes a number of notable environmental features, including New Hope Creek.
The federal government requires Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to update their long-range, multimodal transportation plan at least every five years. This long-range transportation plan describes projects to be implemented over the next 20 years to improve safety, address expected transportation demands, and support land use plans. The results of the US 15-501 Corridor Study will help inform DCHC MPO's 2050 long-range plan by identifying projects that need to be included in the long-range plan. These projects will respect the vision for the corridor, be multimodal in nature, and will focus on improving mobility and safety within the corridor. It is anticipated that recommended projects will meet short- and long-term needs.