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DOT: Extra lane could remain open during I-40/I-440 rebuild

Posted May 14, 2013

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— Triangle drivers could see less congestion when road crews begin overhauling an 11.5-mile stretch of Interstates 40 and 440 early in 2014, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

DOT crews and construction crews from Granite Construction Company and RS&H Architect-Engineers-Planners, Inc. will work to keep three lanes of Interstate 40 open in both directions throughout the entire project, dubbed the I-40/I440 Rebuild.

Officials had previously estimated that only two lanes in each direction would stay open.

The extra lane could alleviate traffic headaches and delays for the approximately 110,000 drivers who travel the roadway each day.

Officials said Tuesday that work will be done in phases, with construction on the I-440 leg of the project set to begin in January 2014. Once that work is done, the work on Interstate 40 will begin in earnest. Officials said Tuesday they hope to have all work completed by the end of August 2016. 

Transportation Secretary Tony Tata also announced that the project will cost significantly less money, as the design-build team of Granite/RS&H submitted a $130 million bid, down more than $60 million from DOT's initial estimates.

Prior to awarding the contract, the DOT said Tata also had engineers and outside consultant groups review road conditions along the southern stretch of I-40/I-440, safety impacts for local drivers and traffic impact of the project, which will take more than two years.

"The department needed to ensure we're taking the right steps on a project that will impact nearly everyone that lives in, works in or travels through Wake County," Tata said in a statement. "The additional work has verified this section of I-40 is a present-day safety issue."

Crawleigh Tata: Extra lane could ease I-40/I-440 rebuild congestion

A DOT pavement specialist said in February that the work is a necessary inconvenience because the roads were constructed in the 1980s using paving materials that react negatively to long-term exposure to water and breaks the cement.

Officials plan to use digital message signs to keep drivers updated on travel times and provide real-time information to help them make decisions about alternates to I-40, such as U.S. Highway 70 Business to Hammond Road or Wilmington Street to get into downtown Raleigh or Interstate 540 to get around the I-40 congestion.

The DOT also announced on Tuesday that it will allocate up to $12 million to create a park-and-ride system and bus routes from Johnston County into Raleigh and increase frequency on current bus routes throughout the entire project.


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  • Bendal1 May 15, 2013


    You're the one that needs to wake up. Finishing I-540 will take another decade easily. By then the pavement on I-440/40 will be gravel; the smooth surface you see out there right now is less than an inch deep and was put on just a few years ago. It was never intended to last very long, it was a bandaid to keep the pavement water free for another few years. Well, that time is up and it's time to rebuild that road.

  • urtwopid May 15, 2013

    I am here to tell you all:
    You are spoiled if you think the roads here in NC(any of them) are in poor condition. The section from The 40/440 split to US 64 is like a brand new road to people from northern states. The DOT administration needs to get their heads out of the clouds (being nice.) You HAVE to finish 540. The traffic is unbearable as it is, so much that but I and my wife are contemplating jobs that do not require us to travel I40. I40 is pitiful, and an embarrasment, through the 70 (Clayton Bypass) area. The road projects here emulate projects at my house. All of them half-done. (And stop calling the Toll-Road a success, 540 is not done.) Thanks.

  • oleguy May 14, 2013

    I say go on and close down 2 lanes with barrels, and then you can see before you start what a mess its gonna be,,, Better go ahead and find a route for all the school busses,, 2 lanes and 1 with busses its gonna back all the way from the 299 back to Orange county,,,

  • methinks May 14, 2013

    Where's the "toll road" meetings and public input? Oh wait, no tolls on these roads, just I95.

  • tired2 May 14, 2013

    If the state stopped pandering to certain people and built the final leg of 540, this I-40/440 rebuild would be much less painful. State gov't at its' best.

  • dirtydozen431 May 14, 2013

    The Highway Patrol is losing some of its communication centers so emergency response to areas such as this will be extended.

  • Road-wearier May 14, 2013

    "I'm all for this rebuild, but if they were REALLY smart, they would have waited on this construction a few years and sped up the construction of 540 from 55 to I-40 south of Garner. "

    I actually sent a comment via the Governor's web page asking him to step in and put a halt to the project until either 540 is finished or I-440 is three laned from I-40 to Wade Avenue...and to keep the repairs up on I-40 in the meantime. Didn't even get a robo-response from Pat...

  • Road-wearier May 14, 2013

    Two lanes open will lead to utter gridlock on surrounding roads. If NCDOT doesn't believe that, send a couple of engineers out to Tryon Rd and Lake Wheeler Rd and so forth when there's a major accident on I-40. Three lanes is a complete necessity.

  • affirmativediversity May 14, 2013

    Shouldn't we be discussing the need to put a toll on I-40/I-440 to pay for all this work?

  • hardycitrus May 14, 2013

    North Carolina seems like they usually close the lanes a couple years before work even starts. Close the turning lanes in all the intersections on the first day and leave them closed until the last day so that there are additional bonus fender benders every day of the project.