DOT: Long detours could save time as Fortify delays build

Posted June 12, 2015

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— With lane shifts signaling the start of the second phase of the Fortify project on Interstate 40, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials say drivers should get ready for major delays on the south side of Raleigh.

Construction crews shifted lanes on I-40 West from Lake Wheeler Road to U.S. Highway 1 in Cary last week, and the same work is ongoing on I-40 East from Jones Franklin Road back to Lake Wheeler.

By mid-July, workers will complete final lane shifts from Lake Wheeler Road to the I-40/440 split in southeast Raleigh. The three-lane traffic pattern on both sides of the highway will be in place until late 2016, and DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said drivers need to be ready for big changes.

"Next week you're going to see a lot more activity in the median," he said. "That's where they're going to tear up and start rebuilding."

Engineers estimate that the uptick in construction could add up to 30 minutes to a trip through the work zone in normal driving conditions. During peak travel times, delays could be longer.

Abbott said an alternate route around Raleigh – Interstate 540 to U.S. Highway 264 to Interstate 95 – could save truckers and out-of-town drivers time. The detour adds 50 miles, but Abbott said drivers going from Durham to Wilmington might still save time.

"If there's an incident and you're in that traffic for 45 minutes or an hour, you're now ahead of the game," he said.

Signs posted on I-40 west of the Triangle give drivers plenty of warning about the Fortify delays. Abbott says local drivers will still need to utilize I-440 and Wade Avenue to avoid the work zone.


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  • Susan Gurganus Jun 12, 2015
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    Please tell Mr Abbott that DOT is not ready for 440 to be an alternative route. Driving the outer loop, between Crabtree and Wade, there are NO SIGNS warning drivers that the right-hand lane is for exits only (at LBT and Wade) and that there are NO SIGNS suggesting through traffic stay left. It is already a mess. (Have called and e-mailed.)

  • Al Smith Jun 12, 2015
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    The DOT have a tough job, there's no doubt about it, but good lord do they always seem to make a mess of everything.

  • Steve Faulkner Jun 12, 2015
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    I am confused about why this adds delays? There are 3 lanes in each direction NOW, they are only SHIFTING the lanes!

  • Wilson Hines Jun 12, 2015
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    If you're coming from the Triad to Wilmington, you need to be getting off at Greensboro on 421 and take it all the way in. You'll be quicker by far.

  • John Murphy Jun 12, 2015
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    just wondering...once all is said and done, are they adding any lanes?