Western Wake Freeway


Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

As lead designer for Raleigh-Durham Roadbuilders, a joint venture between Archer Western Contractors and Granite Construction, Michael Baker International led a multi-discipline design team and provided project management, bridge and roadway design, and bridge hydrology for Western Wake Freeway, a new location roadway from NC 55 at S.R. 1172 (Old Smithfield Road) to NC 55 near S.R. 1630 (Alston Avenue) in Wake County.

This highway project represents the largest ever undertaken in North Carolina. The project is a 12.5 mile, six-lane divided, controlled-access toll road, opened to traffic in 2012, that is expected to save commuters up to 20 minutes per full trip.

This greenfield toll facility is the western leg of the Raleigh Outer Loop and was be the first project in the U.S. designed and built to utilize an all-electronic toll collection system, meaning no toll booths and no stopping to pay tolls. Commuters may use cash, check, or credit card to purchase an electronic transponder that will automatically charge for road use. For those without a transponder, overhead gantries with high speed camera imaging systems capture license place information and drivers are billed. The project includes six interchanges, 32 bridge structures, 15 box culverts, two miles of soundwalls, more than 500,000 square feet of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls, signals, intelligent transportation system (ITS) infrastructure, utility relocations, signing, lighting, Section 401/404 permitting, and maintenance of traffic.

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