Raleigh, N.C. — The state Department of Transportation is training road crews to clear traffic problems quickly when an 11.5-mile stretch of Interstate 40 and Interstate 440 goes under construction later this year to fix defective concrete.
Yellow trucks with the DOT's Incident Management Assistance Patrols, which clear disabled vehicles and crashes from the road, will play a big role in keeping traffic moving during the highway rebuild, DOT engineers said.
"Where we have four or five lanes right now, we're going to cut that capacity in half," said engineer Battle Whitley.
The interstate will be down to two lanes in each direction, and there won't be a shoulder.
"Any kind of disruption of traffic flow through that project is going to back things up pretty quick," Whitley said.
That's why IMAP crews are learning how to clear highway headaches faster by up-righting overturned trucks, managing lane closures, cleaning debris and nudging disabled vehicles out of the way. They're using a simulation exercise to learn road-clearing techniques.
"They'll practice using the push bumpers or the winch on the back of the truck to push the vehicle off the roadway to simulate getting some lanes open," said IMAP spokesman Ben Griffin.
Whitley said he thinks IMAP will be crucial in easing gridlock.
"If we can lessen that impact, the better off we're all going to be," he said.