DOT crews train for clearing I-40/I-440 rebuild gridlock

Posted March 11, 2013

— 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. 

IMAP crews training DOT crews train for clearing traffic during I-40/I-440 rebuild

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.


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  • affirmativediversity Mar 12, 2013

    Hmmmm...I guess I shouldn't hold my breath waiting for the I95 to become a 3 lane in either direction highway...

    How sad...

  • Bendal1 Mar 12, 2013

    Exactly, EZ. The aggregate was widely used at the time and no one had any idea it would break up. That the concrete still lasted 30+ years shows the state got its money out of this pavement, but it's time to replace it now. Waiting until NC 540 is finished over to I-40 south of Raleigh means waiting about 10 more years; it won't last that long at all.

  • Bendal1 Mar 12, 2013

    Actually DOT does have a great track record, "conservativevoter". You listed two projects that happened more than 5 years ago; since then the department has constructed or repaved thousands of miles of roads statewide, yet you didn't hear about any of them did you? No, you are still wrapped up on two projects that got a lot more press than they probably deserved, while no one covers projects that get done right and on time.

    As for "faulty components when it was built", the "defective concrete" mentioned in the article is essentially worn out; it's 30+ years old and has been pounded repeatedly by more trucks than it was designed for. No one, and I mean absolutely no one at the time, understood that the aggregate used in the concrete would not hold up over time as expected.

    But, you go right ahead blaming people in the past for things we know now. Maybe they just forgot they had a time machine.

  • Cock a doodle doo Mar 12, 2013

    Only in North Carolina could they decide to reduce a four and five lane road down to two lanes for 1.5 years.

    Not true. It happens everywhere. ANd when you're getting the Federal money to fix the highway now, you fix it now. This part of the highway was built with concrete that was new for it's day. It was mixed with aggregates that back then, engineers thought would make it last longer, they've since learned otherwise, and the concrete has deterioriated so badly they are spending hundreds of thousands a month now just to sustain the current road.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Mar 12, 2013

    The road is degrading quickly now. It has no hope of surving until 540 is completed. And I really don't see the point in blaming DOT, especially current DOT, for using commonly used materials 20 years ago.

  • ConservativeVoter Mar 12, 2013

    The DOT has a great track record recently.

    Repaved I-40 in Durham County within a couple years of being widened to 3 lanes because the contractor didn't properly cut the expansion joints. The Inspectors missed this one big time.

    Repaved I-795 between Goldsboro and Wilson soon after it opened because of using faulty asphalt along with not spreading the asphalt deep enough to handle truck traffic.

    Now the I-40/I-440 Armageddon of reducing four and five lanes down to 2 lanes because of faulty components being used when it was built.

    They need to be spending their money to add capacity by widening I-440 from US-1 to Wade Avenue instead of rebuilding a highway because the components used are causing the highway to disintegrate.

  • ConservativeVoter Mar 12, 2013

    Other than in North Carolina where they continue to redo highway projects because of faulty materials, etc....

    Most projects around the country are for adding lanes, not fixing the status quo.

  • ConservativeVoter Mar 12, 2013

    Before they do this, they should finish I-540 from Knightdale at US-64 to I-40 near Clayton.

    This would give people a good alternative to avoid this coming traffic Armageddon.

    Only in North Carolina could they decide to reduce a four and five lane road down to two lanes for 1.5 years.

  • sammysmom Mar 12, 2013

    Yes, let's build the southern portion of 540 before we fix 440. 440 isn't in that bad shape now. Traffic is going to be a nightmare when 440 is reduced down to a few lanes.
    I'd even pay tolls on 540 just to avoid the headache of 440 construction.

  • barnysbullet Mar 12, 2013

    where were the "DOT inspecters" the first time,to make sure it was done right?