New estimates released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving topped 3.2 trillion miles last year. It is the fifth straight year of increased mileage on public roads throughout the nation, and underscores the demands facing America’s roads and bridges, and reaffirms calls for greater investment in surface transportation infrastructure.
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report – a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – show that more than 263.6 billion miles were driven in December 2016 alone, which is a .5 percent increase over the previous December.
The December 2016 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which is conducted by USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics as a way to even out seasonal variation in travel and enable vehicle miles travelled (VMT) comparisons with any other month in any year. The seasonally-adjusted VMT for December 2016 were 269.3 billion miles. Compared with seasonally adjusted November 2016 data, December 2016 VMT fell slightly by .6 percent but rose 0.6 percent from December 2015. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
At 2.9 percent, traffic in the West – a 13-state region stretching from California to Montana, and including Hawaii and Alaska – led the nation with the largest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT, and continued an uninterrupted series of monthly increases that began in October 2013. Mileage fell slightly in the Northeast and North Central states.
At 33.9 billion VMT, California accounted for more miles driven in December 2016 than the combined 33.8 billion miles of 22 states – Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming – and Washington, D.C.
At 5.8 percent, Louisiana led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Utah at 5.2 percent and Nevada at 5.1 percent. At 6.2 percent, for the tenth month in a row, North Dakota led the nation with the largest unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.
True Carolinians will agree, the feel of an old county fair is like no other. Now guests can enter into an atmosphere of timeless fun for all ages as Carowinds opens an all-new County Fair themed area in spring 2017.
More than three-acres of family fun await in County Fair, featuring four retro classic rides: the twists and turns of Do-Si-Do glides guests up, down and around on three giant arms; the floorless gondolas on Electro-Spin flip guests upside down up to 63 feet above the ground; Rock ‘N’ Roller’s circular motion paired with music tunes and spectacular lighting is a crowd pleaser; and grab the family for some high flying action on the Zephyr swing ride.
The hardest part of the day might be deciding which regional treat to eat! No fair would be complete without recognizable smells and tastes from some “blue ribbon” favorites including: fried corn, hot dogs, cotton candy and fresh cut fries – yummy! Let’s not forget the ever-popular funnel cake. Guests can indulge the deep-fried pastry the old-fashioned way, or chow down on our bite-sized funnel cake fritters.
Book Now! Find your perfect hotel room near Carowinds…
The County Fair section of the park will feature a wide range of activities that exceed everyone’s imaginations. Family members of all ages can enjoy the comforting feel of the old fair imagery.
“We combined some long-time guests’ favorites, four classic fair rides, traditional fair food and music, to bring a one-of-a-kind experience families will want to enjoy over and over again,” says vice president and general manager, Pat Jones. “Parents can go back in time and re-live their childhood with their kids and create memories that will last a lifetime.”
It’s not too late to purchase a 2017 season pass or renew a current one at the lowest price of the year at carowinds.com. Season passholders will get to experience the all-new County Fair before anyone else during Carowinds exclusive Season Passholder Preview night Friday, March 24 from 6-10 p.m. The park opens to the public on Saturday, March 25.
Biltmore’s gardeners are preparing for an early flowering season in Asheville for Biltmore Blooms, the estate’s annual spring celebration. Biltmore Blooms begins March 20 and runs through May 25, 2017. Expect the showstopper of more than 50,000 tulips to kick off this year’s celebration, blooming in mid to late March.
A progression of flowers takes center stage with lavish displays inside Biltmore House and thousands of spring bulbs blooming in gardens designed at the turn of the century by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Crocus, forsythia and daffodils are among the first flowers. After March’s grand tulip show, April and May promise irises, roses, acres of azaleas, and mountain laurels and rhododendrons close behind.
For trip planning, stay up to date with what’s currently flowering with weekly reports from the estate’s Director of Horticulture at Biltmore.com/bloomreport.
This spring visitors have an additional reason to visit Biltmore House: a special exhibition, “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics.” Inspired by George Vanderbilt’s love of literature, “Designed for Drama” showcases more than 40 award-winning movie costumes from films based on favorite books in his collection. The exhibition runs through July 4, 2017.
- Annual Easter Egg Hunt: April 16
Easter Rabbit makes an appearance on Biltmore’s front lawn Easter Sunday. Easter egg hunts are at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.
- Gardening tips
Weekend ‘Ask a Gardener’ stations in the Walled Garden from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. give an opportunity to talk with Biltmore’s horticulture experts. Daily free demonstrations on creating spring arrangements are offered at A Gardener’s Place at the Conservatory: “Orchids for Everyone” and “Creating a Butterfly Garden.”
- Live music
- Wine tastings
- Spring break adventures
The Outdoor Adventure Center offers a great way to see Biltmore’s 8,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Register for sport clay shooting, Segway tours, horseback riding, carriage rides, fly-fishing, hiking and biking, float trips along the French Broad River and the Land Rover Driving Experience.
- Farmyard fun
The farmyard comes alive with baby goats, lambs and chicks.
Spring dining experiences
- Spring Wine release: March 24
The release and tasting of the 2017 Spring Wine is Friday, March 24. The rosé features fruit-forward notes of persimmon and blood orange.
- “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics” tea series
The Inn on Biltmore Estate is the location to celebrate Biltmore’s “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics” exhibition with a tea series. Enjoy themed menus, lively entertainment, and imaginative décor that bring the literary classics to life.
March 26: “Beauty and the Beast”
April 15: “Far from the Maddening Crowd”
May 13: The Works of William Shakespeare, “Twelfth Night”
- Easter Sunday Brunch: April 16 and Mother’s Day Brunch: May 14
Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day brunches are served at three estate restaurants: The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Deerpark and Bistro.
Purchase tickets in advance at Biltmore.com, or by calling 800-411-3812.
With the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series only a few weeks away, The I-95 Exit Guide has just published it’s annual NASCAR schedule feature.
The new section lists the 2016 NASCAR schedule with links to the individual track websites. The feature also includes information on lodging near each track as well as in the immediate area.
You can find the 2016 NASCAR Schedule feature at www.i95exitguide.com/nascar-weekends/.
N.C. Department of Transportation crews across the state are monitoring weather conditions across the state and are prepared to handle winter weather when necessary.
Crews began pre-treating interstates, N.C. and U.S. routes, as well as other heavily traveled roads with a salt-water mixture called brine in advance of winter weather forecast. Those efforts will continue as another storm is forecast to hit the state.
More than 1.1 million gallons of brine have been used as part of statewide anti-icing operations, as of Thursday morning.
The latest model data from Thursday morning suggests snow and sleet at the onset late Thursday night, changing to freezing rain Friday, then all rain across southern and southeastern portions of North Carolina on Friday afternoon.
Learn more about how NCDOT prepares for winter weather.
Get tips to keep you safe, if you have to be on the roads.
Equipment, supplies and additional manpower are ready and on standby to respond when needed.
Because of the potentially dangerous conditions of roadways, NCDOT reminds drivers that if they don’t have to go out, it will be safer to stay home until roadway conditions improve.
For more I-95 information, visit www.i95exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to America’s Interstate Main Street. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Maine to Florida!
Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.