Local News

Weather Giving Cold Shoulder to I-40 Repaving Schedule

Posted March 23, 2007
Updated April 8, 2007

— The long process of repaving a stretch of Interstate 40 in Durham and Orange counties where repaving was done incorrectly is not expected to begin on time Monday night unless cold air moves out of the area, and neither the North Carolina Department of Transportation nor weather forecasters said that was likely to happen.

Repaving cannot be done if air temperatures are too low for new asphalt to cure properly, Phillip Johnson, a resident engineer, told WRAL's Mark Roberts.

Crews need temperatures in the mid to upper 40s for the work to go on, NCDOT spokeswoman Nichole Burris said.

WRAL's forecast called for a low temperature near freezing overnight Monday. Tuesday night's forecast was for 44 degrees.

Work will be done at night seven days a week and for up to nine weekends once the prject gets under way, NCDOT says.

A two-mile stretch of I-40 eastbound in Orange County, from Rt. 15-501 to N.C. 54 will be the first week zone, with two of three lanes closed.

Work is scheduled for Monday through Friday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night and from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All lanes will be open on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In addition to the overnight work, up to nine all-weekend lane closures can occur beginning at 8 p.m. on Fridays and ending at 6 a.m. on Mondays. Motorists can expect ramp closures along this section of I-40 in mid-summer. Work on I-40 West is anticipated to begin in early July and will start at N.C. 147, the Durham Freeway.

The project is to repair paving that was done wrong a few years ago will begin April 9, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Work on the 10.4-mile stretch of the roadway in Durham County from the Durham Freeway to the Orange County line will also require nightly lane closures on I-40 and periodic weekend closures thereafter.

The stretch of highway was widened three years ago, but the $50 million project began crumbling shortly after its completion. The DOT and highway contractors argued for months over who was to blame before deciding to split the $21 million cost to repair the pavement.

The DOT contracted Lane Construction Corp., of Meriden, Conn., for the repair job, which will continue through November and resume in March 2008. It is set to be complete by May 2008.

Details about the closures, including specific dates, times and locations, will be announced as the construction schedule is finalized and the project progresses, the DOT said. Information is in the NCDOT I-40 project Web site announcement.

The DOT is also talking with the trucking industry to help avoid major delays that motorists experienced during the original paving in 2003 and 2004.

"Our folks are meeting with the trucking industry to talk about this project, how long it's going to take, how much safer and quicker it'll be if they take the alternate route that we're suggesting," said DOT division engineer Wally Bowman. "We really think the trucking industry will abide by that."

The alternate route for motorists traveling east on I-40 is to take Interstate 85 to the Durham Freeway and for motorists traveling west to take the reverse route.

"No matter which way you go—we can't emphasize enough—this will not affect the morning commute or the afternoon commute," Bowman said.


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  • Punky Apr 10, 2007

    Seriously who cares, if it isn't this, people are going to complain about something else. Nothing is ever good enough for anyone here. Just a bunch of whiny little kids in these forums.

  • robert234 Apr 9, 2007

    Just another fine example of the lack of accountability, responsibility, and failure to provide a quality product or result . Imagine NCDOT running our health care system. There is absolutely no reason to believe they, or any governmental agency, could provide better, less expensive, health care than they can properly build a road.

  • Z Man Apr 9, 2007

    I cannot believe they're going to pave instead of re-pour! I was told life expectancy for a paved road is approximately 5 years where a concrete road will last apporximately 30 years. So not only is the taxpayer putting out an additional $15Mil, the product we're ending up with is vastly inferior to the product we initially paid for! The tax payers will be paying for this boondoggle for the next 30 years! Damn right those in charge should be fired.

  • Al Capone Apr 9, 2007

    I was going to think of a post, but Disillusioned beat me to what I was thinking. $15,000,000 gone and people call it a waste to spend several thousand on a new horse barn.

  • Mr 911 Apr 8, 2007

    It's George Bush's fault the concrete crumbled and the weather got cold!!!!

  • joco cruiser Apr 6, 2007

    Being a DOT employee is becoming more and more a disappointment because of the BS out legislators and the ones in power force us to swallow.

    Hopefully, one day the state will clean house and get some honest, hard working people in there (won't be in my lifetime).

  • tarheel1980 Apr 6, 2007

    Instead of firing Secretary Tippett, our Governor put him in charge of the Toll Road Commission. That seems like a bad idea, but I guess you have to pay your political bills no matter the cost to the taxpayer.

    By the way, the $15,000,000 price tag does not include the loss to the economy from the road closings: lost revenue at the mall, wasted gas in traffic, wasted productivity.

    The governor should take some responsibility for this mess and fire the Secretary!

  • FloydRTurbo Apr 5, 2007

    While our legislators are in an "apologizing mode" howsabout apologizing for this massive SNAFU. And howsabout a billboard on I-40 with the picture, name, and tele# of the bumbling bureaucrat that created this mess.
    Only in a government bureaucracy is NO ONE EVER ACCOUNTABLE!

    And they wonder why they get no respect!

  • Disillusioned Mar 26, 2007

    This was a $15,000,000 mistake. There is not a large corporation in the world that would not have immediately fired the individuals responsible and/or sued the responsible contractor. DOT/State Government thinks they have a endless supply of income, all they have to do is threaten Toll Roads and then raise the Gas tax and then property tax. When are the people of NC and our nation going to say enough is enough and why is our Governor allowing it. This is a travesty, the contractor was over budget, late in completion and even if the Engineers failed to inspect the work, the cotton picken contractor knows how to build the road from the designs. That’s their job, that’s why they are the contractor. Inspectors are only there to make sure they don’t cut corners. If the people have to spend another dime on the repairs the Governor should resign.

  • Cleanup on Aisle Cool Mar 26, 2007

    I won't be satisfied until we have an all-German crew engineering and paving our highways. THEY know how to build some highways!