Fortify

DOT's 'Fortify' project to have 'significant' impact on Wake schools

Posted December 17, 2013

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— The North Carolina Department of Transportation's three-year rebuild of an 11.5-mile stretch of Interstates 40 and 440 will have a "significant" impact on the Wake County Public School System, according to the district's chief business officer.

David Neter told school board members Tuesday that Phase I of the project, which the DOT has dubbed "Fortify," is expected to have a minimal impact on the system since routes along the stretch of I-440 and I-40 in east Raleigh affect only 12 buses.

But Phase II of the project, scheduled to begin sometime in late 2014, will likely affect many aspects of schools' operations, including finances.

Everyone who commutes to and from work and school as well as employees who travel as part of their job functions would be affected.

"The delays are going to be horrendous," Neter said. "It is something we are all going to have to deal with."

For example, detours, congested roadways and longer bus routes as a result could mean additional fuel costs, and bus drivers sitting in traffic longer than normal could add up to extra pay.

More than 200 current bus routes – about 20 percent of buses – would be affected, Neter said, and that could affect bell schedules and possibly mean earlier start schedules for some schools and later bus drop-off times for others.

"I want to really emphasize that the impact extends far beyond the construction zone," Neter said. "A lot of alternate routes will be impacted as drivers divert and look for routes outside the construction zone."

Based on DOT projections, for example, an extra 600 vehicles per hour are expected on Wade Avenue in Raleigh in the mornings. 

"We will not know the true impact on the construction zone alternate routes until construction actually begins," Neter warned.

School staff will continue studying potential impacts, Neter said, and bring to the board recommendations on changes to how the district operates.

It's unclear, however, when that will be.

22 Comments

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  • immaannoid Dec 18, 3:55 p.m.

    Buses should not be allowed on *any* road with a speed limit of 65 or over.

  • lets_b_real79 Dec 18, 11:46 a.m.

    "WRAL has been trying to stir up interest and tell the public what kind of impact this is going to have, and it's like nobody cares. Until it makes their commute 2 hours. Then they will complain they didn't know about it..."

    Would you rather the people that it will affect to take off work to comment along with you?

  • seeingthru Dec 18, 11:31 a.m.

    I agree no school buses on motorways. I have witnessed some horrific near misses potential pileup collisions no get them off for good.

  • rushbot Dec 18, 11:07 a.m.

    continuation... back then in hawaii, there were no school buses..we used public buses..climbed on board...put our fare in the little box thingee and rode the bus..the buses were used between times to give oahu a really good bus system.. ..i could support the ending of wake county owned school buses and replacement by commercial school buses if those same buses were then used to give us a world class county public transportation system......

  • rushbot Dec 18, 11:03 a.m.

    "
    "Why does not someone in the Triangle area get to work on those mass transit systems?"

    I would use them if one actually went near where I work. For the most part, the busses only run down town from Clayton so I will still be on 40. I'll wave to you while we are sitting still in traffic.
    Click to view my profile Wags
    December 18, 2013 10:39 a.m." i used to park my giant extendedcab8footbed 4 x 4 pickemup truck in cameron village when i needed to go down town..i would take the bus from their.. ..i tell you what....i am almost into my 7th decade of life on this mortal coil and have ridden lots of mass transit...the metro in dc is the best in america...the marc is the best commuter train in america ..and the raleigh bus system is the best city bus system in america..and cary's bus system is tops for small towns... ....here's my thoughts on the school bus system....i went to and graduated from high school in hawaii.. ..back then, to be continued hopefully..i do have a point...

  • HGA_Matt Dec 18, 11:01 a.m.

    It's amazing to me that an article about Mccrory sarcastically giving cookies to a protesting group outside his house, or President Obama making a promise or somebody else winning 600 million dollars gets a ton of comments on this website, but when something that impacts half of WRAL's viewing area and nearly 20% of all Wake County schools, it recieves less than 20 comments by lunch and is relegated to the archives by the next day.

    WRAL has been trying to stir up interest and tell the public what kind of impact this is going to have, and it's like nobody cares. Until it makes their commute 2 hours. Then they will complain they didn't know about it...

  • davmci29 Dec 18, 10:57 a.m.

    Buses should NEVER be on the interstate. as the saying goes- Speed KILLS... is 100% accurate. ANY SPEED that is not in the flow of traffic is very dangerous. Putting buses traveling 20-30 MPH slower than the flow of traffic... into traffic is a horrible decision. Add to that the shortened tempers of everyday traffic participants and you've got a recipe for bad things. One more reason against busing, but at the least, get them off the interstates before some one gets hurt.

  • rushbot Dec 18, 10:55 a.m.

    they'll get it figured out since tata is no longer involved in wake county bus transportation issues...

  • tuckerbrian54 Dec 18, 10:44 a.m.

    And the NCDOT just released this project last week ... NOT ! They've been talking about it, warning drivers and now all of a sudden, the brains are churning and realizing it's happening, so don't be blaming anyone but yourselves .... Schools included. Wake up and find another route around the project or just sit in traffic. Would you rather they didn't do it at all, then you would complain of the roads being bad and soon driving on gravel. Can't please everyone, but take it for what has to be done.

  • Wags Dec 18, 10:39 a.m.

    "Why does not someone in the Triangle area get to work on those mass transit systems?"

    I would use them if one actually went near where I work. For the most part, the busses only run down town from Clayton so I will still be on 40. I'll wave to you while we are sitting still in traffic.

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