Raleigh, N.C. — The state Department of Transportation is gearing up to repair an 11.5-mile stretch of highway in Raleigh, a project that will take about three years to complete and cost an estimated $168 million.
Construction will begin in the spring or summer of 2013 on what will be the biggest road project ever undertaken in the Triangle.
The project involves repairing pavement on Interstate 40 between the Jones Franklin Road overpass and the exit to Interstate 440/U.S. Highway 64 and on I-440 between I-40/U.S. 64 and just north of U.S. Highway 264. Work in this area since 2007 was just a temporary solution to extend the life of the highway until a larger, more comprehensive project could be funded.
DOT officials said the existing 30-year-old pavement needs to be completely removed and replaced. Considering the old pavement is up to two feet deep, the interstate has five lanes in some places and work cannot be done in cold temperatures or rain, the project will be time-consuming.
During construction, auxiliary lanes, which connect ramps between interchanges, will be added as safety measures. The DOT will attempt to keep at least two lanes open while work is in progress, but heavy delays and backups are expected daily. Short-term work on certain sections of pavement might require temporary closures, but these will be scheduled to have minimal impact on traffic and will be announced in advance.
NCDOT recommends using the following alternative routes, as there will not be marked detours:
- From the west, I-40 East to Wade Avenue (Exit 289) to I-440 East back to I-40
- I-40 East to I-540 East (Exit 283) to US 64/US 264 East to US 264 East to Interstate-95 South back to I-40 and reverse from US 64/264 (suggested for I-40 through traffic and commercial trucks)
In short, 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 accidents in the area. Once the project gets underway drivers can find more information and updates on the NCDOT project website and on Twitter.