From two to four

News AASHTO Journal September 16, 2002
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Legislation has been introduced in the Senate to create a new $1

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate to create a new $1.8 billion program to upgrade heavily traveled two-lane roads in rural areas.

The bill, titled "Rural Four-Lane Highway Safety and Development Act of 2000", was introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and would create a federal-aid program--funded at $1.8 billion over six years--to provide allocations to states for planning, design, environmental review and construction to expand eligible two-lane highways to four lanes.

To be eligible the highway would have to be on the National Highway System or on a high-priority corridor as identified in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). Priority is to be given to projects according to safety, high levels of commercial traffic and potential for stimulating regional economic growth.

"Travel of four-lane roads is safer than on two-lane roads," said Bingaman. "The reason for that should be obvious, when a road only has one lane in each direction trucks and other slow-moving vehicles increase the hazard of passing. Vehicles turning on or off a two-lane road also can increase risk. Divided four-lane highways greatly reduce these dangers."

Bingaman noted that of the 2,935 miles of rural roads on the National Highway System in New Mexico 1,217--more than one-third--are two-lane roads with no dividers.

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