Why is it Important?
N.C. 98 is a regionally significant transportation corridor that traverses rural Durham, Wake and Franklin Counties, the City of Durham, a small portion of the City of Raleigh, and the Town of Wake Forest.
The route intersects a number of other regionally significant facilities, including U.S. 70, the future Northern Durham Parkway, N.C. 50, U.S. 1, N.C. 96 and U.S. 401. The N.C. 98 corridor serves as the only east-west highway facilitating movement between east Durham and northern Wake County. The corridor also serves as the only east-west connection across northern Wake County and southern Franklin County providing access to major regional north-south thoroughfares, including U.S. 1, U.S. 401, U.S. 70 and N.C. 50.
Land uses along the corridor range from low-density single-family residential uses to dispersed retail, service and institutional uses. Additionally, the roadway abuts or traverses a number of notable environmental features, including Falls Lake, Forest Ridge Park, and a number of streams.
Under Section 134 of the Federal Highway Act of 1973, MPOs are required to prepare long-range transportation plans on a minimum 20-year planning horizon. This study is part of the 2045 long range plan for both CAMPO and DCHC MPO.
The Triangle Regional Model (the regional travel demand model utilized by NCDOT and other planning agencies to forecast future traffic volumes) indicates that the N.C. 98 corridor between U.S. 401 and U.S. 70 is over or is approaching capacity. In the absence of improvements, most of the facility is projected to be over capacity by the year 2040. The roadway also experiences major congestion across Falls Lake, as the only direct east-west connection across the lake. The western section of the corridor from U.S. 70 to Olive Branch Road in east Durham experiences high crash frequencies, including many involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
Several other proposed improvements in the area include the new Northern Durham Parkway, N.C. 50 widening, U.S. 1 freeway conversion and widening, Wake Forest northside loop, and interchange improvements at N.C. 98 and U.S. 401.