RALEIGH – With the holiday season over, roadway work on the Fortify project on I-440 in southwest Raleigh resumed Friday night, Jan. 3.
Crews started replacing the orange traffic control barrels between the I-40/440 split and the Poole Road exit with concrete Jersey barriers. The same work will continued overnight on Saturday. They also installed a barrier along the outside shoulder at the I-40 East ramp to protect power poles in the area.
Depending on the weather on Sunday and Monday nights, as the work requires a dry roadway and temperature in the 40’s, crews plan to extend the lane closures the final mile on the westbound side from the Poole Road exit to the U.S. 64/264 ext. Once that is completed, the contractor will resume the placement of the concrete barriers the entire length of the work zone.
In addition to the roadway work, there will be an overnight 15-minute closure of I-440 West where the ramp from I-40 West merges onto the highway on Tuesday night and possibly Wednesday night. That will allow crews from Duke Energy to safely run an overhead power line from a pole outside the ramp to a pole in the median of the I-40/440 split to provide power for the asphalt plant being built at that location.
Once weather conditions allow, prep work for the upcoming traffic shift on I-440 East will resume with shoulder paving near the I-40/440 split to get it ready for daily travel. Asphalt doesn’t properly set when the temperature is below the mid 40’s. When the weather conditions improve, crews expect to need two nights to complete that work. That will be followed by traffic shifts, moving vehicles onto the outside lane and shoulder, and lane closures going from U.S. 64/264 to the split, weather permitting. The installation of concrete barriers for that side would follow.
Once the east and westbound sides of the I-440 project site are in two-lane traffic patterns with concrete barriers in place, work will begin on removing the two inside lanes in both directions and the median to prepare for the rebuilding of the highway.
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.
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.
Drivers going from I-40 West onto I-440 West 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.
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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