Work on Fortify Project Moves ahead with Bridge, Pavement and Prep Work Friday, February 7, 2014

RALEIGHCrews working on the Fortify Project in southeast Raleigh will be busy next week with bridge, pavement, piping and prep work, covering both I-440 and I-40.

A big step in the building of a temporary construction vehicle-only bridge over I-440 East at the median of I-40/440 took place Thursday night. The bridge girders were put in place and some deck panels went in. More panel work will take place over the next few days. Other work, including putting in the concrete for the decks, will take the next few weeks to finish. It is hoped the bridge will be open for traffic by mid-March. The bridge will provide a safer way for construction vehicles to travel in and out of the project staging area in the median.

In the section of I-440 West closed off by concrete barriers on both sides, milling and sawcutting will continue next week. They will be pulling up slab sections of the highway near the bridge over Sunnybrook Road to check on the condition of the fill underneath. In areas where there is a problem with the condition of the substructure, it will be hauled away.  

Crews on the west side of I-440 are continuing to replace the storm drain system that is under the highway so it is ready for when the actual road replacement work takes place. In areas where the new storm drain work is completed, crews will break the existing concrete pavement to get it ready for recycling.

The contractor is also waiting for Mother Nature to cooperate to complete the traffic shift along I-440. Temperatures must be in the mid 40’s or above and the roadway must be dry for lane striping to be put in place. One night in favorable conditions is needed to complete the shift for the final 1,500 feet of the westbound side, carrying it to the U.S. 64/264 interchange. When that happens, crews will immediately follow behind with three days of switching out the temporary orange traffic control barrels with concrete barriers.

Once the west side is set, the shift for the eastbound side of I-440 would start, going in the opposite direction from U.S. 64/264 to the split. That work will take six days, followed by eight days of installing concrete barriers for that side.

There will also be some work going on next week on eastbound I-40. Because the contractor is required to keep three lanes in each direction open during the I-40 phase of the project, upgrades are needed to add travel lanes during construction, including across bridges. Construction next week will involve prep work at the bridge over Garner Road on I-40 East, with similar activity at the Hadely Drive and State Street bridges in the following weeks. Once that is done, crews will switch to the westbound side to do the same work. All the work will be done without impacting traffic or during overnight lane closures.

Motorists going through work zones along I-440 and I-40 are reminded to slow down to the reduced speed limit in that area, and use extra caution for their safety, as well as for their passengers, other motorists and construction crews. A conviction for speeding in a work zone can cost a motorist an additional $250 above the original speeding fine and court costs.

The Fortify project is the removal and replacement of an 11.5-mile stretch of I-40 and I-440. The initial phase focuses on replacing the section of I-440 between the I-40/440/U.S. 64 split and just north of the U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass. Work will then switch to rebuilding I-40 between the split and the I-40/U.S. 1/64 interchange near Cary. That is expected to start in late 2014 or early 2015, with the entire project expected to wrap up by Fall 2016.

Because of the traffic impact of the project, NCDOT has a Fortify website that provides comprehensive information, including alternate transit options, project maps and links to live traffic cameras. Employers can also access online resources to help them develop and implement a flexible work program. The site includes links to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to stay engaged with NCDOT and other commuters.

*** NCDOT ***

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