Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

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US 321 Widening Project

US 321 Widening Project Information

US 321 Widening Project for Caldwell County Facebook Page

What Is Proposed?
NCDOT is proposing to widen U.S. 321 to a six-lane median divided road. Extending 13.9 miles, from just north of U.S. 70 in Hickory to Southwest Boulevard in Lenoir, the project crosses through five municipalities (Hickory, Granite Falls, Sawmills, Hudson, and Lenoir) and three counties (Catawba, Caldwell, and Burke).

Maps of the updated designs for Sections A and B (linked below) were shown at the public meeting on July 27, 2017 in Hickory.

Section A – U.S. 70 to U.S. 321A (funded)

Section B – U.S. 321A to Mission Road (currently unfunded)

Why Is This Project Proposed?
Between Hickory and Lenoir, several roadway segments and a majority of intersections along U.S. 321 are currently experiencing congestion, and travel demands are not being satisfied. These conditions are anticipated to worsen as traffic volumes increase in the next 20 years. The purpose of this project is to reduce existing and future congestion on U.S. 321.

Project Fast Facts
County: Catawba, Caldwell, Burke
Type of Project: Widening
STIP Number: U-4700
Estimated Cost: $288.3 million
Property Acquisition Start: FY 2018
Start Date: FY 2020

Project Highlights
Based on an environmental assessment (44MB) approved in February 2016, the project’s proposed design would widen 13.9 miles of U.S. 321 to a six-lane divided road. For most of the length, it would have a 30-foot raised grass median.

A superstreet (also referred to as a Synchronized Street) design would be used along U.S. 321. All at-grade intersections and driveways would be right-in/right-out only. Drivers would turn right and use new U-turn areas to travel in the desired direction.

This project is divided into four sections in the current State Transportation Improvement Program:
Section A – U.S. 70 to U.S. 321A (funded)
Section B – U.S. 321A to Mission Road (currently unfunded)
Section C – Mission Road to Southwest Boulevard (currently unfunded)
Section CA – U.S. 321/Mount Herman Road intersection (funded)

What is a “Superstreet” design?
A superstreet, also known as a restricted crossing U-turn (RCUT), J-turn, or reduced conflict intersection, is a type of road intersection that is a variation of the Michigan left. In this configuration, traffic on the minor road is not permitted to proceed straight across the major road or highway.

The “Superstreet” design has been a component of the project all along.

What are the benefits of a “Superstreet” design?
The so-called “superstreet” traffic design results in significantly faster travel times, and leads to a drastic reduction in automobile collisions and injuries, according to North Carolina State University researchers who have conducted the largest-ever study of superstreets and their impacts.


Emergency Services Access and Response Times

School Bus Routes

Access to and from Lake View Park and Lake Valley Place/Corbin Lane

Access to and from Grace Chapel Road

Access to and from Alex Lee Blvd.

Access to and from River Bend Drive/New Farm Road/321A

Homes that will be affected

Businesses that will be affected

With major projects like this, there will ultimately be some give and take. Some homes and businesses will have to be relocated. The goal and result should be what is best for all. Balanced safe access and throughput for all…


“Superstreets! This is amazing! You guys are getting a really cool design. Yes, it will add a little extra travel time to adjacent land access, but the through traffic travel time (say, getting from Hickory to Lenoir) will be improved, which is really the primary function of a road like 321. Think about it this way – you probably “create” your own superstreet from time to time. Have you ever gone straight at a traffic light just to miss a long queue of cars making a left? Only to take the next left/u-turn where the queue is shorter? Then make a right to the road you were trying to access? That is basically what a superstreet design does. You might be interested to know it’s a home-ground NC design that has been studied at NC State! There are also many safety benefits. Hang in there folks, it’s new and weird, but I think you’re going to enjoy the operational benefits.”
(By Caldwell County native Jessica Smith)

North Carolina Superstreet Locations as of May 2017

NC 87-24 in Cameron, Harnett County

  • Signalized
  • Combination 4-lane/6-lane
  • 5 miles
  • Suburban/transition, frequent driveways to individual businesses and residences
  • 1 hour from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/MwYMJfxzoKL2

US 17 in Leland, Brunswick County

  • Signalized
  • 4-lane
  • 7 miles
  • Suburban/transition, infrequent driveways to several large shopping centers and neighborhoods
  • 2 hours from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/Jv1BLeTGw8o

 NC 55 in Holly Springs, Wake County

  • Signalized
  • 4-lane
  • 4 miles
  • Rural to Suburban/transition, infrequent driveways to several large shopping centers
  • ½ hour from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/PDzjZcVN76D2

Poplar Tent Road, Cabarrus County

  • Signalized
  • 4-lane
  • 5 miles
  • Suburban, moderately frequent driveways to individual businesses
  • 5 hours from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/URXifJX94DR2

 US 23-74 in Haywood County

  • Unsignalized
  • 4-lane
  • 2 miles
  • Rural, infrequent driveways to individual properties
  • 4 hours from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/T34N9e77YTv

US 1 in Moore County, Vass Bypass

  • Unsignalized
  • 4-lane
  • 5 miles
  • Rural, infrequent driveways to individual properties
  • 1 hour from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/kVoK6uao5fx

 NC 87 in Elizabethtown, Bladen County

  • Unsignalized
  • 4-lane
  • 5 miles
  • Rural, infrequent driveways to individual properties
  • 5 hours from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/HyhciXBCn7H2

US 17 Bypass in Beaufort County

  • Unsignalized
  • 4-lane
  • 5 miles
  • Rural, infrequent driveways to individual properties
  • 2 hours from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/ZJ88keiSWQN2

  US 15-501 in Chapel Hill, Orange County

  • Signalized
  • 4-lane
  • 6 miles
  • Urban/transition, no access to individual properties
  • 5 hours from Raleigh
  • goo.gl/maps/jPpszBE2hhn

US 17 in Pender & New Hanover Counties

Holly Springs, NC Superstreet

If you click on the links below, you can read comments by the residents about the NC 55 Superstreet in Holly Springs.

The transition to a new traffic pattern at N.C. 55 and Avent Ferry Road begins early Saturday morning, Oct. 29. U-turn…

Posted by Holly Springs, NC – Town Government on Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Avent Ferry Road traffic turning left onto N.C. 55 toward Apex flowed much better Monday morning as intended with the…

Posted by Holly Springs, NC – Town Government on Monday, October 31, 2016

Related News Articles:

Proposed Changes to U.S. 1, 15/501 Frustrating Businesses

Multi-Million Project Plans For U.S 1, U.S. 15-501 Raising Concerns

For more information, contact:

Gene Tarascio
NCDOT Project Development

1548 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1548
(919) 707-6046

Comment here:  apps.ncdot.gov/ContactUS/PostComment.aspx?Unit=US321

Project website:

NCDOT Public Meetings website:

US 321 Widening Project for Caldwell County Facebook Page


Have a question?  Contact us at: mark.jackson@caldwelljournal.com and we will do our best to answer your question.  Please provide your name and phone number in your email.

If we receive any corrected, new and/or updated information we will provide that information on this page going forward…



Jessica Smith

Town of Holly Springs Facebook Page