Raleigh – Contractor crews early Friday put the final
concrete barriers down along I-440 East near the I-40/440 split in southeast
Raleigh, setting traffic into its long-term two-lane pattern in the Fortify
work zone. Traffic on the I-440 West side of the project has been in a two-lane
pattern for several weeks, but cold and/or wet weather held up the lane
striping needed for the shift on the eastbound side for the past few weeks.
Traffic along I-440
will now remain in its current pattern, using the outside lane and reinforced
shoulder for travel on each side until about late May, while the inside two
lanes on both sides and the median are rebuilt. Once the new lanes are ready,
traffic will shift onto those inside lanes, and the outside lanes and shoulders
will be rebuilt through the summer and fall.
The placement of the
concrete barriers on I-440 East will enable crews to safely begin the removal
of the existing roadway and median on that side, work that has already been
underway along I-440 West. Workers will be sawcutting sections of the I-440 roadway
and median barrier over the next several days to make them easier to remove.
Work on that side of the interstate will also include the installation of a new
storm drain system under the highway, and rebuilding bridges over Sunnybrook
Road and Crabtree Creek.
Crews have been breaking
up the existing pavement on sections of I-440 West. This is done by removing
the asphalt and then using a crusher machine to turn the concrete pavement
rubble into a gravel product that is recycled into the new roadway.
Work also continues
on the I-40 section of Fortify. Because the contractor is required to keep
three lanes open in each direction during that phase of the project, bridges in
the area have to be widened to accommodate the transformation of the highway
shoulders into travel lanes. Several weeks of prep work are underway for the
bridges over Garner Road, Hadely Drive and State Street.
That work includes
some slight traffic shifts on those roads to accommodate the construction, as
well as the installation of temporary barrier walls to provide protection for
workers and the traveling public. That means some shoulder closures will be in
place by the bridges, and there will be some outside lane closures during the
work, but only during overnight hours to minimize any traffic impact.
Prep work for I-40
will also extend to the other side of the project area, with the milling of
some rumble strips along the shoulders between U.S. 1 and Lake Wheeler Road
overnight in the coming weeks. This work also requires some brief lane closures
during the overnight hours for the safety of the workers.
through work zones along I-440 and I-40 are reminded to slow down to the
reduced speed limit in that area, and use extra caution for their safety, as
well as for their passengers, other motorists and construction crews. A
conviction for speeding in a work zone can 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 because of the crumbling of the substructure of
the highways. The initial phase replaces the I-440 roadway between the
I-40/440/U.S. 64 split and just north of the U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass. That
will allow I-440 to be used as an alternate route when work switches to rebuilding
I-40 between the split and the I-40/U.S. 1/64 interchange near Cary in late
2014 or early 2015. The entire project is expected to wrap up by Fall 2016.
Because of the
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.
*** NCDOT ***
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