Crews to smooth drive through Fortify zone before winter sets in
Posted November 27, 2015
Updated November 28, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — The Department of Transportation takes the holiday weekend off from construction projects across the state, including the Fortify project in south Raleigh. The work to rebuild Interstate 40 is now in its third year, and drivers are starting to see some progress.
"Being on it every day, i'm just so impressed with how much they can get done," said convenience store owner Steve Byers.
Outside of the holiday break, work goes on day and night along the 11.5-mile project, and some big changes are coming for drivers in December.
When crews return to the work, they'll begin placing barriers to narrow the interstate to three lanes in each direction between Interstate 440 and U.S. Highway 1.
"Travel won't change for several months, probably until early summer time. It'll be the same pattern all the time, then they really gear up the inside lane work," said NC DOT spokesman Steve Abbott.
To date the project has not caused the widespread disruption and long delays that planners anticipated. Abbott said that can be credited in part to people altering their commute times and routes and opting for GoTriangle buses.
"We've also noticed rush hour isn't hard-core 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.," he said. "People are coming in earlier, people are coming in later, and that's helped quite a bit."
The narrow lanes have resulted in some accidents, most of them, Abbott said, caused by inattentive drivers.
"We had one gentleman look at his watch, traffic stopped, he looked up -- boom," he described.
The congestion and lane shifts have been inconvenient, but drivers should experience a smoother ride through the work zone in the next few weeks. Crews are going to patch some of the cracks and ruts before cold weather sets in and clarify the lane markings that have been a source of confusion.
The entire project is on track to be finished by the end of 2016.