RALEIGH – The Fortify
Project to rebuild sections
of I-440 and I-40 in Raleigh took another
significant step forward. Traffic on I-440 East through the work zone was
shifted overnight from the outside two lanes to the two newly-built inside
lanes between the I-495/U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass exit and I-40. The move allows
crews to begin rebuilding the outside lanes of I-440 East. The same move was
made for I-440 West last month.
For drivers going
through this three-mile section of the Fortify work zone it means a slight shift
farther to the left than they have been making, and a sharper move to the right
to access the exits for Poole Road and I-40.
Except for the exit ramps, the outside lanes and shoulder are closed to
through traffic for the rest of this phase of the project, which is expected to
wrap up late this year.
As with many traffic
pattern changes, this shift will take some time for drivers to get used to and
NCDOT asks motorists to have patience as they learn the new pattern. The
department also urges drivers to slow down, use caution and obey the speed
limit of 55 mph through the work zone.
Because there isn’t shoulder
space along I-440 in either direction in the work zone, drivers experiencing car
trouble or who have been involved in a minor accident but whose vehicle can
still move, should make an effort to get to the next exit, where there is space
to pull over and safely get out of the vehicle. If a vehicle cannot be moved,
the driver should stay inside, turn on the flashers, and if a cell phone is
available, call 911. Getting out of the car puts the driver or passengers into
the other travel lane and possibly into the path of on-coming vehicles.
Law enforcement, the
N.C. Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Assistance Patrols, the contracted towing company and project contractor
employees are trained to look for distressed motorists and quickly come to
their aid. In addition, NCDOT employees who monitor the traffic cameras along
the project site will alert law enforcement and other first responders as soon
as they spot an issue.
Now that the
rebuilding of the two inside lanes in both directions of I-440 is finished,
crews are doing the same work on the outside lane and shoulder in each
direction. When that work is done later this year, the project shifts to the larger
I-40 section of the project
I-440/U.S. 1/64 interchange in Cary and the I-440 split in southwest Raleigh. Bridge
widening and shoulder preparation work along I-40 has been under way for
several months in anticipation of that move.
project includes the removal
and replacement of the highway surface and substructure along 11.5 miles of interstate on I-40 and I-440. A chemical reaction in
the 40-year-old substructure of the roadway is causing it to crumble, and in
turn, damaging the road surface. That required constant repairs, and led to
concerns of ongoing major travel disruptions along one of the state’s busiest
stretches of highway.
The initial phase is
focused on the I-440 section so that highway would be available as an alternate
route for drivers to use to get around the construction on I-40 when it starts.
During the I-40 phase, traffic in both directions will be in a three-lane
pattern. That is expected to start late this year or in early 2015, with the
entire project wrapping up in the Fall of 2016.
Because of the
expected traffic impact of the project, especially when work is under way
full-time on I-40, NCDOT is partnered with Go Triangle, Triangle Transit and Capital Area Transit to promote options to help motorists avoid
traveling through the work zone at peak travel times. A Fortify
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.
Triangle Transit created
new commuting options that include express bus service from Johnston
County (JCX) and additional service from eastern Wake County. There is also a
new park and ride lot at the Wal-Mart at the Cleveland Crossings Shopping Center
at I-40 and N.C. 42 for catching the JCX or meeting with carpoolers and
vanpoolers to share a ride. To learn more about finding a carpool or vanpool,
More new routes, including from Cary through west Raleigh and N.C. State
University into downtown Raleigh, as well as a route from Fuquay-Varina into
Raleigh are scheduled to begin late this year in anticipation of the project
shift to I-40.
Bus On Shoulder
System (BOSS) is now active along I-40 from Raleigh to Exit 312 for N.C. 42.
BOSS enables busses on designated bus routes to travel in the shoulder of the
interstate as long as traffic in travel lanes is moving at speeds lower than 35
miles per hour.
*** NCDOT ***
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