Pavement work causes I-440 delays in Raleigh
Posted September 25, 2013
Updated October 25, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Traffic on westbound Interstates 40 and 440 was slowed Wednesday as crews patched pavement on a collector lane between I-40 and Buck Jones Road.
Crews initially patched the segment of highway Tuesday night, but when the lane was reopened Wednesday morning, state Department of Transportation engineers said it wasn't handling traffic as well as expected, so they closed it again for more repairs.
"We ran into some unforeseen conditions in the existing base," DOT engineer Alan Shapiro said. "(We) didn't know it until we tried to get traffic back opened up, and we saw some rutting in the asphalt."
Crews had to rip out the earlier work, dig deeper and fill the new holes with reinforced materials. Although the repairs were completed by late afternoon Wednesday, engineers didn't reopen the lane until about 4:45 a.m. Thursday because the asphalt needed time to cool.
Officials gave the all-clear to keep the lane open to traffic at about 6 a.m.
"We apologize for the inconvenience to drivers who got caught in congestion. We know how frustrating that can be," DOT engineer Dennis Jernigan said in a statement. "This was a safety issue. When it became apparent that the foundation in that specific area of the 50-year-old highway was causing an issue, we immediately closed it."
Mike Bullock and his construction crew crept along for miles on I-40 trying to get to his project at Cary Crossroads. They were about 30 minutes late.
"There's no way to get out of it, so that's it. You're stuck," Bullock said.
Johanna Finch was also late getting into work because of the construction do-over.
"If they did it overnight and it was like a, I hate to say, a mistake or something, that's OK. But it was a busy time, and people had to go to work," Finch said.
A second collector lane remained open Wednesday, but drivers said that wasn't enough.
"You'd see double lanes coming up through the off-ramp, so it was kind of a mess," Bullock said.
"Try to bear with us. We're doing the best we can. It's something in the long run is going to be beneficial," Shapiro told frazzled drivers.
DOT spokesman Mike Charbonneau also said he understood the frustration.
"We want to apologize to those who were inconvenienced, who got caught in that congestion on 40, 440," Charbonneau said.
The patching is a preliminary part of the I-40/440 rehabilitation project to keep the roadway in safe traveling condition until major construction work begins on I-40 next year.