Fortify traffic pattern to get 'big test' when traditional-calendar schools return

Posted August 21, 2015

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— 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.


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  • Djofraleigh Anderson Aug 22, 2015
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    Why are the empty of students busses allowed on the beltline while limited to 45mph when the traffic is going 65 or 75? Let them use the two lane routes.

  • Chris Hall Aug 21, 2015
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    It is not the bus's fault how people react to it and we should not bend over backwards trying to create a world safe for those who choose not to be responsible for their own actions. That is the same 'logic' people use trying to blame redlight cameras for "forcing them" to run redlights. They made the conscious decision to speed up instead of slowing down….not the inanimate object.

  • Steven Natalie Perkins Aug 21, 2015
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    Considering traffic does not move faster then 45 mph during peak hours, what difference does it make? They can sit still in traffic just like the rest of us.

  • George Orwell Aug 21, 2015
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    Why do school buses, which are limited to 45 mph, allowed on the intersates at all in this area. There is no good reason as there are alternative routes. All they do to the interstate is slow it down and make the agressive drivers more agressive.