About the Study

Study Updates

Phase 3 – Second Community Meeting – Complete – The Project Team evaluated potential roadway cross sections and considered the most appropriate treatments based on what we have heard from residents and stakeholders. We presented these sections for discussion at the second round of Community Meetings.

Phase 2 – First Community Meeting and Long-Range Forecasts – Complete – Feedback from the website, and workshop attendees was valuable to identifying the constraints, opportunities, and assets of the NC 54 corridor. This information is directly influencing the next phase of the project.

Phase 1 – Existing Conditions Assessment – Complete – Study Team members have reviewed and provided comments on the existing conditions assessment draft.

Data Collection – Complete – The study team has completed traffic counts (including pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycles, buses and truck volumes) at critical intersections along the corridor. Data on speeds and variations in traffic by time of day and direction are being analyzed, along with five years of vehicle crash statistics. Field observations and public comments will augment these data to provide additional context.

Background and Context

The NC 54 Corridor Study is an in-depth review of the 20+ mile stretch of NC 54 between Old Fayetteville Road in Carrboro and I-85 in Graham. The two-lane roadway is regionally significant as it is one of the few east-west corridors in the area and carries an average of 6,000 to 15,000 vehicles per day. Traffic congestion on the corridor, which is higher than would be expected from the daily level of traffic, is amplified by inadequate access management, heavy turning conflicts, and substantial truck volumes. The roadway also traverses urban, suburban, industrial and agricultural land uses, which makes designing a roadway that accommodates the needs of all users an important challenge.

Project Objective

The goal of this study is to develop a long-term vision for this corridor, including the NC 54 roadway itself and the surrounding communities. This vision is comprehensive, addressing preservation of the area’s character, economic opportunity and vitality, environmental sensitivity, and transportation improvements for all users (e.g., drivers, freight, pedestrians, bicyclists).

The study team will review previously planned widening by 2023. We will also consider lower-cost alternatives for more immediate benefits with minimal disruption to existing residents, businesses, the environment, and long-range plans.

An integrated strategy of short-term traffic operational improvements, long-term infrastructure investments, and coordinated land use and market development strategies will be identified to preserve and enhance environmental resources and the economic vitality of the corridor and the surrounding communities it supports.

Study Area

The study area is the 20+ miles long of NC 54 from Old Fayetteville Road in Carrboro to the I-85 interchange in Graham. Communities and land uses alongside the roadway are included. See the map below for an illustration of the corridor study area.

NC 54 West Corridor Study Area Map

NC 54 Corridor – Study Area


The study is scheduled for approximately twelve months, with draft project proposals expected in the summer of 2018. The study incorporates four public events, which are critical opportunities for citizens to provide input on transportation problems, potential solutions and priorities, important community features to be preserved and enhanced, and outcomes to be avoided. The study team will also meet regularly with key stakeholders to help guide the study’s consultants.

Phase 1 – Existing Conditions and Market & Economic Assessment - Fall 2017

Phase 2 – First Community Meeting and Long-Range Forecasts - Early 2018

Phase 3 – Second Community Meeting and Draft Report – Spring 2018

Phase 4 – Draft Report – Summer 2018, and Final Report – Fall 2018