Raleigh – As crews get closer to shifting lanes on Interstate 40 in the Fortify I-40/440 work zone in Raleigh, some local businesses are helping their employees avoid the potential impact on their workday.
"A number of the region’s leading companies are committed to promoting travel options to improve their employees’ quality of life – including flexible work schedules, transit passes and telework from home,” said Joe Milazzo, executive director of the Regional Transportation Alliance.
Among those companies, Milazzo says, are Cisco Systems, Citrix, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, NetApp, Quintiles and Red Hat, which last year began offering employees an option to trade in their parking passes for GoPasses – an employer investment that allows workers to travel on area buses for free.
"We saw Fortify coming and wanted to help Red Hatters who had concerns with their travel options," Red Hat Vice President and Treasurer Paul Argiry said. "By being proactive, our hope was to help alleviate traffic concerns within the Triangle.”
The State Employees Credit Union is also providing GoPass to its more than 1,400 Triangle employees.
It moved some of its workers to offices in downtown Raleigh late last year, and because of that, it teamed up with GoTriangle to find alternative ways of getting to work, whether it be transit, carpooling, biking or even walking to work.
“We have seen many of our employees taking advantage of these opportunities and believing in the power behind it – the smarter commuting, said Amber Stroupe, a human resources specialist with SECU.
Approximately 120,000 motorists travel on I-40 through the Fortify work zone each day, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation wants to reduce traffic in the area. Beginning this summer, crews will shift lanes, and the entire 8.5-mile stretch will be reduced to three lanes until work is complete in late 2016.
During peak travel times, commutes are expected to increase by an average of 30 minutes each way.
With more than 100 employer outreach events over the past year, NCDOT has been working with GoTriangle to help reduce congestion by getting 30,000 vehicles off the road. Employers can find out more about alternative commuting options at FortifyNC.com.
As the largest employer in Wake County with more than 24,000 workers, the State of North Carolina is also proactively helping keep cars away from the Fortify work zone, says Neal Alexander, director of the Office of State Human Resources.
Late last year, the state began notifying its employees about ways to minimize the traffic challenges ahead.
It is supporting a menu of options for employees, including alternate work sites, flexible schedules and telecommuting where possible as well as urging workers to consider alternate routes and using alternative forms of transportation.
“Although there is no single answer on how each agency and state employee should address the challenge, there are a variety of options to consider to ensure we continue to provide the highest level of service to our citizens,” Alexander said.
Striping continues on I-440 East next week, with crews re-opening a third lane, putting the road at full capacity about the middle of the week. Final paving will continue at night on the eastbound side and should be finished by mid- to late June, weather permitting.
Traffic shifts will begin in early June on the section on I-40 West from Lake Wheeler Road to the U.S. 1 bridge in Cary. Shortly after the westbound shift is complete, the eastbound side will begin shifting from U.S. 1 to Lake Wheeler Road.
There will be no lane closures during the Memorial Day Weekend.
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