Raleigh -- Crews expect to complete traffic shift and lane closure work for the I-440 West side of the Fortify project next week and, weather permitting, start the same construction work on the opposite side, the eastbound side of the interstate.
Crews hope to finish the traffic shift and lane striping for the I-440 westbound side of the project Monday night, January 20, by extending the two-lane pattern to the U.S. 64/264 exit. Once completed, crews are expected to spend three nights installing concrete barriers along the same stretch of highway.
On Tuesday night, January 21, if weather permits, eastbound traffic will be shifted to two outside lanes, including the shoulder, which was strengthened to handle daily traffic. If all goes as planned, crews will start at the U.S. 64/264 exit and work their way toward the I-40/440 split, working Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Crews will also begin installing concrete barriers on the East side next Friday night.
Once the concrete barriers are in place on the eastbound side of I-440, this will remain the traffic pattern for approximately four months while crews rebuild the inside lanes and median. The barriers will provide safety for the crews who will remove the asphalt and substructure then rebuild the highway.
Drivers who travel through the work zone are urged to slow to the reduced speed limit in that area and use extra caution to protect themselves, their passengers, other motorists and construction crews. A conviction for speeding in a work zone could cost an additional $250 above the original speeding fine and court costs.
In addition to the traffic shift work, there is activity on other parts of the project as well. Where the lanes are being replaced, crews are installing pipe work and junction boxes for streams that run under the roadway within the construction zone. The temporary asphalt plant that is in the median of the I-40/440 split is still being put together, and prep work is under way for the installation of a temporary bridge that will go from that plant location over I-440 East for the use by construction vehicles. That bridge could be in place late this month.
PSNC is continuing its work on the gas line for the asphalt plant. Duke Energy is working on providing power for the contractor offices set up along the Lake Wheeler Road exit 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.
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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