Fortify traffic pattern to get 'big test' when traditional-calendar schools return
Posted August 21, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — New traffic patterns in the Fortify work zone in south Raleigh will get their first big test next week as traditional-calendar schools begin the 2015-16 school year.
Drivers have been adjusting to lane reductions – traffic has been reduced to three lanes on Interstate 40 West and East from Lake Wheeler Road to the I-40/440 split – for a couple of weeks now, but an influx of school-related traffic could create extra delays.
State Department of Transportation officials say they'll have an extra eye on the situation next week.
"We are not at that point where we are going to see a greater impact on traffic," DOT spokesman Mike Charbonneau said.
A Wake County Public Schools spokesperson said school buses leave early enough to avoid the heart of the morning commute. Officials will also monitor the afternoon commutes to see if they need to adjust their routes.
Charbonneau said managing delays will be a joint effort.
"We're working closely with them to make sure they have that information, so their parents and drivers are aware," he said. "Especially if they have to come through or close to the work zone in those morning or afternoon hours."
Even if school buses will be on the roads outside of peak rush hours, additional school-related traffic could still slow down drivers.
DOT engineers estimate up to 30-minute slowdowns in the work zone during the morning and evening commutes, even under ideal conditions.
"If you have to come through or near Fortify, prepare for what that impact could be as part of the back to school preps," Charbonneau said.
Work on the Fortify project, which is a complete rebuild of I-40 between the I-40/440 split and U.S. Highway 1 in Cary, is ongoing. With lane reductions in place, crews are breaking up old sections of the highway so it can be replaced.
The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2016.