Traffic

Johnston Co. emergency officials bracing for Raleigh I-40/I-440 overhaul

Posted January 28, 2013

— As Raleigh drivers brace for what's been described as the biggest road project in the Triangle, emergency services officials in Johnston County have started talking with the state Department of Transportation about how the work might affect transferring patients to Wake County medical facilities.

DOT crews are expected to begin work as early as this summer on a three-year overhaul of Interstate 40 and Interstate 440 – from U.S. Highway 1 in Cary to U.S. Highway 64/264 in Raleigh.

Work on the 11.5-mile stretch of highway will require lane closures, and transportation officials have said drivers can expect delays – although how much of a delay depends on the time of day, how many lanes are open, the amount of traffic and any wrecks in the area.

"For Johnston County EMS, that route is critical," Josh Holloman, EMS division chief of Johnston County, said Monday. "Fortunately, we only transport about 20 percent of our patients to Wake County, but we do take our sickest patients to WakeMed – with them being a specialty center for heart attacks, traumas and strokes."

That's why Holloman says officials are meeting with the DOT.

Early conversations between both have emergency officials in Johnston County communicating directly with the DOT's State Traffic Operations Center in Raleigh, where workers monitor hundreds of cameras across the state to provide real-time traffic information.

I-40 traffic Raleigh's I-40/I-440 overhaul will affect Johnston EMS

"We've got an abundance of technology that's going to help us," said STOC project manager Bryan Gunter.

In addition to a regular staff of up to five operators in the operations center, Gunter says the DOT is planning on putting additional personnel in place to monitor work zones along I-40 and I-440 when they are active.

Operators will then be able to determine the fastest route for emergency responders to get to their destinations without affecting traffic monitoring in other parts of Raleigh and the state.

"One of the things we really would like to do is to get real-time information into ambulances," Holloman said, "and then make a decision on transport and also include the patient in that decision."

Another goal, he says, is to get ambulance dispatchers direct access to the same information.

"We know we're going to be impacted, especially during the morning commute. That's what we're most worried about," Holloman said. "We plan on making sure we have a good plan and something that we'll deal with."

13 Comments

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  • tendonut Jan 29, 6:52 p.m.

    ConservativeVoter, it looks like widening that terrible section of 440 is actually in the works.

    http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/search/details.html#id=2438

    It takes way longer because they have to secure the right-of-way there.

  • tendonut Jan 29, 6:37 p.m.

    tayled, The tolled portion of NC-540 would not let anyone avoid the future congestion. It goes in a completely different direction. If they finished the final quarter/third of the 540 loop, then you might be able to say that. But to get to tolled 540 from the east, you have to pass through the construction first. The construction ends at US-1, which is the same road where the first major tolled 540 intersection is.

    As for everyone complaining about traffic affecting businesses...that's just going to happen. Any road construction on any road in the city will have a negative impact on the local businesses on it. The alternative is let the road fall apart. At some point, it HAS to be done and there WILL be negative consequences. Until an indestructible road material is discovered, it will just be a fact of life.

  • tayled Jan 29, 5:26 p.m.

    Tayled- how can it be a conspiracy to get folks from JoCo to WakeMed?? The toll road is in western & southwestern Wake Co.!! JoCo Ambulances would have to go 25 miles out of the way to get to the entrance to the toll rd.

    They need to consider taking Smithfield Rd to US-64 by pass in Knightdale or Old Garner Rd to Rock Quary Rd to Sunnybrook Rd. Even an ambulance can make better time on a 2 lane road than one which is at a dead stop!!

    Use a map-duh!!

    Not those people oin Johnston County or Wake Med, but there are plenty of other people who depend on this road. There are businesses that depend on getting their customers to their businesses via this road. In fact, I have a friend who works in Cary and they are actively seeking another place to work because many of their workers will be impacted.

  • mmtlash Jan 29, 2:14 p.m.

    Durham survived their I-85 project, Raleigh will be fine...

  • baldchip Jan 29, 1:53 p.m.

    Tayled- how can it be a conspiracy to get folks from JoCo to WakeMed?? The toll road is in western & southwestern Wake Co.!!
    JoCo Ambulances would have to go 25 miles out of the way to get to the entrance to the toll rd.

    They need to consider taking Smithfield Rd to US-64 by pass in Knightdale or Old Garner Rd to Rock Quary Rd to Sunnybrook Rd.
    Even an ambulance can make better time on a 2 lane road than one which is at a dead stop!!

    Use a map-duh!!

  • tayled Jan 29, 12:38 p.m.

    tayled, I drive that highway every day and the toll road is not an alternative. Now if it was complete to I-40 THEN it would be an alternative.

    One of my brothers is a retied DOT engineer and knows quite a bit about this road. It seems there is something in the gravel base of the road that is actually dissolving the underlying pavement. If they don't do this the road will just disintegrate out from under us as it's foundation disappears.

    That may be the case, but I have talked with some small business owners who will be affected by this project who fear that their business will decrease to the point during that time that they will be forced to either shut their doors or move, neither option being good. some of these people do not have the option of their employees working from home either.

  • ConservativeVoter Jan 29, 11:32 a.m.

    They should widen I-440 from US-1/I-40 to Wade Avenue before they start renovating other highways and not adding any lanes in the process.

  • Scubagirl Jan 29, 10:59 a.m.

    There were roads BEFORE I40 & 440, they'll just have to use them and sometimes they would be quicker AND safer anyway.

  • Z Man Jan 29, 10:59 a.m.

    So glad I don't have to use use it (unless I take in a Mudcats game). But I did go through the pain of the I40 expansion west of US 1. Now it's your turn!

  • lmarks Jan 29, 10:20 a.m.

    Well, if the whiners in Garner hadn't made such a fuss, I-540 would be complete to 40 East, and all the through traffic could take (free) 540 around town.

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