Fortify

Raleigh driver says unclear lane striping led to wreck in Fortify zone

Posted August 25, 2015

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— Although lane reductions on Interstate 40 in the Fortify zone haven't resulted in massive delays, the construction area hasn't been free of problems.

Raleigh resident Jim Scarborough says confusing lane stripes caused him to get into an accident on the morning of Aug. 13.

Scarborough was driving east on I-40 near Lake Wheeler Road when he was involved in a wreck with a tractor-trailer.

"I was in the right lane, basically minding my own business, when I noticed an 18-wheeler's front wheel was chewing into the side of my car," he said.

Scarborough hit a guardrail before coming to a stop, but he wasn't injured. He says the old and new lane stripes in the work zone are still visible.

"The 18-wheeler saw one set of lane lines, I saw the other set, and it just didn't work out," he said.

Old lane striping is still visible in the middle of the right lane on I-40 East, but North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said that's not uncommon for a large highway project.

"It is a temporary pattern, so lane striping is not going to be as bright as, say, I-440," DOT engineer Amir Nezarati said.

Nezarati said it's nearly impossible for crews to cover all traces of old stripes when they shift highway lanes.

With the lanes in question scheduled to be torn up as crews rebuild the highway over the next year, Nezarati says DOT has no plans to make the striping clearer.

"Slow down, be aware of your surroundings, because the lane striping is not going to be as bright as permanent marking," he said.

Scarborough said he thinks extra reflectors and a bit more paint could make the work zone safer.

"They could do any number of things to improve the visibility of those lane lines, and they really need to do that right away," he said.

Nezarati says DOT inspects the work zone regularly and will correct issues as engineers deem necessary.

Scarborough's car was totaled in the wreck, and he said he's checking with his insurance company about seeking reimbursement from DOT. No charges were filed.

19 Comments

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  • Andrew Stephenson Aug 28, 2015
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    540 won't be finished for another 7 years, assuming there is nothing but smooth sailing on that project going forward. I'm sure the folks in one of the many proposed 540 paths in Garner are not wanting that project to be rushed.

    According to the DOT (you know, professionals), we'd start to see severe VISIBLE deterioration of I-40 long before 540 is completed. If the DOT waited until after 540, you know all the armchair civil engineers will be up in arms about why they put off I-40 construction for so long and how they should have not let it get so bad. Preventative maintenance is just part of being a responsible person.

    I feel for DOT employees. No matter what they decide, it's always wrong.

  • Andrew Stephenson Aug 28, 2015
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    Of course the road is way worse than it was before they started construction. It is currently a work zone and no fresh pavement has been laid down yet.

    This is on par with renovating a house, then saying halfway through the demo phase that it's in worse condition than before you started demo.

  • Djofraleigh Anderson Aug 25, 2015
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    It is the worst along I-40 at Lake Wheeler, but it is clearly a construction zone, drivers still speeding even when crowded, yet over all, this company had done a good job.

    DOT has not clearly stated what engineer messed up materials years ago. The concrete was exploding by the time construction was started, with potholes appearing daily. I assume alkaline + water = expansion and busted concrete. Remember the five mile continuous crack in the center of I-40 east from Cary to Garner? I don't understand how the defective concrete can be relied on after being crushed and recycled into the course aggregate base course (gravel) that will support the new paved surface.

  • Fred Kozlof Aug 25, 2015
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    We'd all love to 'stay off it', but that's the other error....they should have done the upgrades to the possible alternative routes first...specifically widening the beltway to 3 lanes everywhere, and widening Tryon Rd all the way to S.Saunders. But no...so there are no alternatives. I-40 was not crumbling and falling apart. Their chewing up the old markings and making ruts is what tore up the existing surface.

  • Steven Wood Aug 25, 2015
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    The base material degrading is what was causing the road to constantly crack and get potholes. Just like a house has to have a solid foundation. And the road is going to be terrible during this big of a construction job. Either deal with it, or stay off of it.
    That being said, they definitely need to improve the lane markings. That aspect of this project is terrible!

  • Fred Kozlof Aug 25, 2015
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    Actually not [the reason]. The reason given was that the base material under the driving surface, was chemically degrading, making the road 'rot away and deteriorate'. However, there was no visible evidence of that, and now that they are tearing it all up and rearranging it, it's WAY worse than it was. I regularly drive from Raleigh area up to Detroit MI area, and other than Detroit, Wake County has the WORST roads of my 750 mile trips. I seriously doubt the validity of the original reason for the Fortify Project.

  • Russ Bullock Aug 25, 2015
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    The outer loop should have been finished before this mess was even started. But, we live in the era of "taxes are always bad." They certainly aren't put to best use because "money is free speech" so politicians work for their donors instead of the public.

  • Elizabeth Anne Wells Aug 25, 2015
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    Yes, I realize that it is supposed to be under construction; however, it takes more than some orange barrels and some white paint on the road to make it happen...

  • Andrew Stephenson Aug 25, 2015
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    I'm pretty sure that's why it's under construction as we speak.

  • Elizabeth Anne Wells Aug 25, 2015
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    That stretch of I-40 East is deplorable!!! We are told that our gas tax is high because it is used to build and/or improve our roads. So, tell me...what happened??? I traveled to and from South Carolina this past week. Gas is much cheaper there as they do not have all of that gas tax added to the price of gas; however, the roads I saw were much better than the I-40 East stretch. Come on DOT!!! Raleigh is the capital city. If roads are this bad here, just how bad are they everywhere else. No wonder Tata resigned because this is one big mess!!!

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