Pavement work causes I-440 delays in Raleigh

Posted September 25, 2013
Updated October 25, 2013

— 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.

Crawleigh Collector lane on I-440 reopens after pavement work

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.


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  • Unbroken Sep 26, 2013

    Omigod, this is going to be epic. And not in a "good epic" kind of way.

  • Scubagirl Sep 26, 2013

    I for one, am glad they were quickly proactive even tho' it caused some inconvenience to drivers. That said it SHOULD have been done correctly the FIRST time but in the absence of that , and in the work quality we have become so accustomed to, guess it's to be expected. Sad that there is no pride in work these days.

  • ConservativeVoter Sep 26, 2013

    For the southern beltline to wear out as soon as it did, shows a glaring design and construction problem.

    Durham Freeway dates back much longer. Even the beltline from Cary to Wade Avenue is holding up much better and it was built in the 1960's.

  • williammjohnston Sep 26, 2013

    Typical of inexperienced NCDOT work and supervision to have to do it twice!

  • ConservativeVoter Sep 26, 2013

    I-81 from Bristol, VA to Wytheville, VA has been there since 1963 with heavy truck traffic.

    It hasn't been rebuilt and is working fine.

    Once again our inept NCDOT took shortcuts and we're now paying the price with Crawleigh and high gas taxes and tolls.

  • ConservativeVoter Sep 26, 2013

    Brought to you by the same people who botched the I-40 paving in Durham County when they widen it to three lanes each way.

    These people also botched the I-795 paving job from Wilson to Goldsboro.

  • imtiredofit Sep 26, 2013

    Is this going to be a indicator of the quality paving work we can expect on the "Crawleigh" project?? Seven years ago we all saw how the paving project on I40 in Durham was botched and cost 21 million dollars to re-do what should have been done right the first time.

  • piloterror1 Sep 26, 2013

    why is it that the contractors DOT hires have to do work twice.....

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 25, 2013

    fredk - "...roads should and do, last longer than this one."

    Roads up north that face harsh winters surely do.

    Someone down here needs to learn how they do it, and do the same down here.

    That's not rocket science!!!

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Sep 25, 2013

    Did the road start to fall apart right after they opened it back up again after the night before's work?

    Dunno, but happy I'm retired and no longer have to deal with rush hours.