RALEIGH, N.C. — A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 40 is taking longer than originally expected. Once work actually begins, more than 100,000 commuters can expect lanes and even ramps to shut down.
The plan was to have I-40 widened from two to three lanes from the Durham Freeway to Highway 15-501 by this summer, but it will be delayed until the end of next year. Most motorists were frustrated when they heard the news.
"It takes too long to travel these roads already during rush hour," motorist Cheryl Civitodd said.
"That's just a shame -- that kind of delay," motorist Ken Ast said. "It's costly. This is really needed. That overall area is just a mess."
State Department of Transportation officials said the delay is related to the ramps. Officials said widening the highway and keeping traffic moving all at the same time is a big headache for road builders and a big hassle for road users.
Last year during the widening, DOT crews used
to control traffic flow. The public outcry forced the DOT to go back to the drawing board. Now, the plan is to shut down ramps completely as they are widened.
Engineers said drawing up new plans and several bouts of bad weather stalled the project.
"We hope that by living through this little bit of a headache right now that drivers will get the benefit of this widening for years to come," engineer Wiley Jones said.
DOT officials said the new lanes will be concrete, which can last years longer than asphalt. Right now, there are only nighttime lane closures. The ramp closures, which will last for several weeks at a time, start in April.