Raleigh – The contractor for the Fortify project on I-440 in southwest Raleigh has wrapped up its roadway work before taking a holiday break. Crews on Thursday night finished putting in lane striping that directs traffic on I-440 West into a two-lane pattern, using the outside lane and reinforced shoulder, between the I-40/440 split and the Poole Road exit on-ramp. No additional lane closures will take place until road work resumes in early January, when the two-lane pattern is extended another mile to the U.S. 64/264 interchange. That pattern will remain in place until late next spring.
Motorists are urged to use extra caution when approaching and driving through the work zone to protect themselves, their passengers, other motorists and construction crews. Drivers need to obey the speed limit, and pay attention to traffic and construction warning signs. A speeding ticket issued in a work zone could cost a motorist an additional $250 above the original speeding fine and court costs.
Drivers going from I-40 West onto I-440 West will merge from two lanes at the start of the ramp to a single lane on the right side of the ramp, and then merge again into the two travel lanes coming from the I-40 East ramp onto I-440 West. In early January, crews will resume the road work and extend the two-lane pattern to the end of the three-mile project at U.S. 64/264.
Crews on Thursday night continued their prep work to prepare for a traffic shift for the I-440 East side of the project, which will also take place in early January. Thursday’s work involved smoothing over rumble strips at the outside lane between Poole Road and where the interstate crosses over Sunnybrook Road. That helps prepare the shoulder on eastbound I-440 to be used as a regular travel lane.
Once both the east and westbound sides of the I-440 project site are in two-lane traffic patterns in January, crews will replace the orange traffic control barrels with concrete Jersey barriers to provide protection for construction crews. That is when work will begin on removing the two inside lanes in both directions and the median to prepare for the rebuilding of the highway.
While road work is suspended for the holidays to help travelers on their holiday trips, other work on the project continues. Utility work is planned before and after Christmas next week for the temporary asphalt plant being built in the median of the I-40/440 split. Early preparations will be underway for the building of a temporary bridge at the split in late January for use by construction vehicles. And a construction office facility for the contractor is being built along the Lake Wheeler Road ramp off I-40 East.
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 Fall 2016.
Because of the expected 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.
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