Raleigh – Nighttime lane closures begin tonight for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Fortify project, the replacing of an 11.5-mile stretch of I-40 and I-440 to address immediate safety concerns. Closures on I-440 West will start at 9 p.m. between the I-40/440 split and Poole Road to allow contractor crews to safely drill for core samples of the roadway. A similar closure is planned for the same time on Tuesday night on eastbound I-440 between Sunnybrook Road and the I-40/440 split. That will allow crews to do lane striping removal tests.
The Fortify project is not just about rebuilding a road, it is also about fortifying a community. Strong partnerships and community collaboration will help reduce the impact to those who live in, work in, and pass through the Capital City during construction.“These roadways are major connectors not just for our residents here in the Triangle, but for visitors and travelers that come to our Capital City or travel through,” said NCDOT Deputy Secretary of Communications Cris Mulder. “That’s why we’re providing up-to-date tools and resources to help folks make informed decisions and know before they go, as well as supporting employers and other organizations in creating awareness with their employees and customers.”
NCDOT has launched a new Fortify website to connect people with comprehensive project information, including where to catch alternate transit options, project maps and links to live traffic cameras through a partnership with WRAL News. Employers and human resources professionals can access online resources to help develop and implement a flexible work program.
The site also includes links to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to stay engaged with NCDOT and other commuters. There is even a top-40 playlist of jams to help people through the traffic.
“While this project is necessary for the safety of drivers, we know it will also have an impact on the way people get to work, school, and other important places,” said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. “We’re taking many steps to minimize that, including making a significant investment in additional transit, and working with the contractor to keep three lanes open in both directions on I-40 during the majority of construction.”
More than 100,000 vehicles travel on the weakened sections of I-40 and I-440 every day. NCDOT’s goal is to get at least 30,000 vehicles off the road during heavy commute times by encouraging alternative routes, alternative work locations and schedules, and greater use of public transportation.
NCDOT is investing an additional $12 million and partnering with Go Triangle, TTA and CAT to add more buses and routes, and to identify new park and ride options in and around the Triangle.
The first stage, rebuilding I-440, begins this fall. Crews will replace the section from the I-40, U.S. 64, and I-440 interchange, known as “the 40 split,” to just north of the U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass.
· Week of Oct. 28: Nighttime lane closures begin for prep work
· Early December: Daytime lane closures begin
Stage Two, daytime lane closures for rebuilding I-40, are scheduled to begin by late 2014, when crews will replace the pavement from U.S. 1/64 all the way to the I-40 split. The entire projected is scheduled to wrap up by the fall of 2016.
The repair work on I-40 and I-440 is part of a 10-year plan to reduce congestion and enhance mobility throughout the Triangle. The 30-year-old pavement is cracking and crumbling because of a chemical reaction, called ASR, happening in the road. The reaction is triggered by water mixing with a substance that was used in paving several decades ago.
“It has deteriorated beyond the point of continuing to do patchwork,” said Division Engineer Wally Bowman. “To ensure the road is safe, we need to remove the pavement completely to get rid of the chemical reaction that is still occurring today and replace it.”
In May of 2013 NCDOT awarded a $130 million contract to Granite Construction Co. and RS&H Architects-Engineers-Planners Inc. to complete the work. In addition to coming in with the lowest bid, Granite also plans to build a temporary asphalt plant within the project site, increasing efficiency and safety by reducing the need to truck in materials.
In addition to rebuilding the road, crews will extend two miles of auxiliary lanes to help manage additional traffic. They will also rehabilitate 14 bridges within the project zone to extend their life by many years.
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