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Beltline drivers to face backups as Fortify project enters 2015

Posted December 29, 2014

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— It’s been a year of change on the Beltline in southeast Raleigh.

Drivers have squeezed through lane shifts and closures as crews remove old, faulty pavement and replace it with fresh, new asphalt. The work is part of Fortify – the state’s multimillion-dollar project to rebuild an 11.5-mile stretch of Interstate 40/440.

Mike Charbonneau, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said crews are wrapping up their work and getting ready for the 2015 phase of the project.

“They expect to have all of 440 lanes fully completed and open by the end of January,” he said.

Then, attention will turn to I-40 between the I-440 split and U.S. Highway 1 in south Raleigh. However, the work there could cause the biggest backups.

Lane shifts and reductions won't happen overnight. Charbonneau said the process will take several weeks.

“You're going see lanes begin to shift, and when the shift starts, the traffic impacts will as well,” he said. “Drivers will notice that, but it's going to be a continual process until they get the pattern in place.”

Once the barriers are up, that new pattern will remain until the project is done in 2016.

Charbonneau said the early part of the project may not cause huge backups at first, but that doesn’t mean the smooth sailing will continue.

“Don't let your guard down,” he said. “Don't let what you see at the beginning of January make you think that's all you're going to experience with the project.”

NCDOT wants to get 30,000 vehicles off I-40 every day to minimize congestion through the work zone. They are encouraging drivers who use the road to consider shifting their work schedules, telecommuting or using public transit.
 

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