Holiday travel, concert could create hectic Friday evening commute
Posted May 22, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — With thousands of Triangle-area drivers expected to head east for the Memorial Day weekend, delays in the Fortify work zone could be worse than normal during the Friday afternoon commute.
Crews have slowly been ramping up their efforts in the Interstate 40 zone of the project area, and a minor wreck on Wednesday morning created major headaches during the morning commute. No lane closures are in place in work zones Friday, and crews won't close lanes again until Tuesday.
Music fans headed to the Dave Matthews Band show at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre could also add to Friday evening's highway hassle.
Traffic is expected to increase earlier than usual on Friday evening and be worse than normal again on Monday. AAA Carolinas estimates that more than 1 million North Carolinians will take a road tip for the long holiday weekend, the highest number in 10 years.
Officials credit lower gas prices for the anticipated increase in travel. The average price for a gallon of gas in North Carolina is $2.55, the lowest for a Memorial Day weekend since 2009. Gas prices are up 20 cents in the last month, but drivers are paying more than $1 less than they were in May 2014.
In June, increased construction on I-40 will result in lane closures that will reduce traffic to three lanes in each direction between the I-40/440 split and U.S. Highway 1 in Cary. Traffic shifts are expected to begin first from Lake Wheeler Road to the U.S. 1 bridge on both westbound and eastbound I-40.
State Department of Transportation engineers believe the shift could add 30 minutes for each trip through the work zone during peak times.