Steps Toward Completion of Fortify Project Tonight and this Weekend Wednesday, September 27, 2017

RALEIGH – For the first time in more than two years, commuters on Thursday morning are expected to be able to use the eastbound Interstate 40 loop ramp at South Saunders Street to head into downtown Raleigh. That is because overnight tonight, the Fortify project contractor is scheduled to re-open the loop ramp that has been closed since May 2015.

At the same time, the current I-40 East ramp that drivers have been using to go north or south on South Saunders Street will get converted back to its former pattern, sending traffic southbound only.

That current ramp will only be open a short time, as Thursday at 8 p.m., it gets closed so the contractor can rebuild it, as it has other ramps through the work zone. It will be open again by 6 a.m. on Monday, putting exit 298 in its final permanent traffic pattern.

A signed detour for I-40 East drivers who want to access southbound South Saunders Street will send them one mile to the Hammond Road exit, where they will turn right and then right again on Rush Street to head back toward South Saunders Street.

Drivers are urged to use caution and slow down when approaching the South Saunders Street exit because of the change in the traffic and ramp patterns.  

The next significant step in the project is expected to be the opening of the final traffic pattern of I-40 West between the exit for Gorman Street and the I-440/U.S. 1/64 exit in Cary, which means I-40 West will essentially be in its final pattern the entire length of the project. That should happen by the second week of October, and will include the opening of the new connector lane between those two exits. It will let a driver go between Gorman Street and I-440/U.S. 1/64 without having to merge into the regular travel lanes. It also allows westbound drivers who want to use the I-440/U.S. 1/64 exit to get into position in the far right lane earlier than they were able to before the project started.

Back on the eastbound side, crews over the next few weeks will start putting more sections of the highway into its final traffic pattern. Currently all lanes are open between Hammond Road and the east end of the project. The additional shifts to the final pattern will work their way back to the west from the Hammond Road location.

With all these changes, it remains very important to continue to slow down, and for drivers to leave space between their vehicle and the one in front of them if possible, and pay extra attention through the work zone, where the 60 mph speed limit remains in effect. The Highway Patrol has stepped up its traffic enforcement in the work zone, and have clocked some vehicles going over 80 mph. If convicted for going that speed, that could result in the suspension of a driver license, as well as large fines.

Fortify project details, as well as traffic updates and live traffic cameras can be found on FortifyNC.com. Real-time travel information for Fortify and other highways across the state is available at DriveNC.gov and by following NCDOT on Twitter.

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