What Is a "Superstreet?"
Your property is your investment.
And the type of road that runs in front of or alongside your property can have a significant impact on its value (ex. - few homeowners want to live beside a roaring interstate!).
As land condemnation attorneys in NC, we often represent property owners who live along roads that are being widened or changed and these changes often affect their homes or businesses. One question we've heard a lot in recent years is:
"What on earth is a 'superstreet'?"
Superstreets seem to be the NCDOT's latest fad, and it appears they're here to stay. Below, we'll explain what a superstreet is, and why they're gaining so much popularity in NC.
Definition of a Superstreet
When two roads cross each other, you get an interchange. In a "typical" red light/green light intersection, you can turn right, left, or go straight from any direction.
The superstreet concept is an alternative to this type of intersection.
In a superstreet scenario, roads joining the "superstreet" can only turn right onto it. To turn left and travel in the other direction, drivers must first turn right and then make a U-turn.
Are Superstreets Safe?
While the superstreet design looks complicated, planners often prefer it because it simplifies the number of choices for drivers - minimizing the "conflict points" at an intersection.
According to the NCDOT's presentation on superstreets, a typical intersection has 32 potential conflict points, while a superstreet only has 14.
Since intersections have long been a trouble spot for motorists and are often the scene of some of the most devastating accidents, engineers hoped that by reducing the number of conflict points, they might reduce the number of accidents.
It seems they were right.
One Key Case
In 1997, the NCDOT converted the NC 87 bypass to North Carolina's first superstreet. In the three years prior to opening it, the bypass was the scene of 24 crashes, resulting in 21 injury cases.
For the three-year span after the bypass was converted, there was a remarkable drop to only two crashes and zero injury cases, according to the NCDOT.
Analyzing data over a seven-year period, the NCDOT estimated that superstreets reduce collisions by 46%.
In addition, superstreets are considered safer for pedestrians because traffic patterns are easier to predict since drivers have fewer options (conflict points).
Other Benefits of Superstreets
Superstreets have also been rapidly gaining popularity among DOT engineers for three other reasons:
- More Efficient - Since superstreets require fewer conflict points, there are fewer stoplights, and the stoplights that are in place do not have to accommodate as many options. This reduces travel time and allows the road to accommodate more traffic.
- Economically Beneficial- Since superstreets allow for equal access to both sides of the road, development can more easily occur on either side. Also, when used as a substitute for an interchange, superstreets are typically less expensive, since they require less acreage (see picture).
- Environmentally Friendly - In addition to affecting less land, superstreets mean less time idling at stoplights, leading to fewer emissions and pollutants released into the environment.
"My Road Is Being Turned Into a Superstreet"
Building a new superstreet (or converting an existing street) can require "right-of-way acquisition," which means the government may take the land needed for the project from private owners - using a process called "eminent domain."
If your property is in danger, we strongly recommend that you talk with an eminent domain attorney.
In our experience, the government may undervalue your property and offer you less than what you deserve. And, without guidance, it's easy to accidentally take steps that can't be reversed.
At the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm, we're happy to review cases for free - to see if you're being treated fairly. Just call us at 1-877-393-4990.