Fortify

DOT seeks flexibility from businesses to ease Fortify congestion

Posted December 4, 2014

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— State and local authorities met Thursday with Raleigh business leaders to devise ways to reduce traffic on Interstate 40 in south Raleigh during the Fortify project.

Crews are nearly done with the Interstate 440 section of the massive road project, and when they shift the bulk of their work to Interstate 40 early in 2015, officials expect there to be a more significant traffic impact.

Weather permitting, construction crews in January will phase in traffic shifts on both eastbound and westbound I-40 near the Gorman Street and Lake Wheeler Road exits to allow construction to take place outside of barrier walls.

Following that work, crews will continue to add barrier walls along the rest of the I-40 section of the Fortify rebuild until the entire 8-mile stretch of highway is reduced to a three-lane traffic pattern.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials hope to get as many as 30,000 vehicles off the highway during peak commute times, which are 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"We're attempting to minimize the impact," Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said.

Tata, Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and other officials asked business owners to consider alternative work locations for employees or flexible schedules.

State government agencies are helping the road rebuild effort by offering employees ways to avoid I-40 and I-440 during peak travel times through alternate work schedules or sites, teleworking and alternate forms of transportation.

"We're using a lot more webinars and teleconferences," said Neal Alexander, director of the Office of State Human Resources.

The North Carolina Department of Administration is also offering government workers in Wake County a GoPass as part of a pilot program associated with the Fortify project.

DOT also is paying Triangle Transit to run four new bus routes through August 2016. The new routes begin Jan. 12 and run from Cary Town Hall to North Carolina State University and downtown Raleigh, from Wellington Park Shopping Center in Cary to N.C. State and downtown Raleigh, from South Park and Hilltop Crossings Shopping Center in Fuquay-Varina to downtown Raleigh and from Clayton Town Center in Clayton and White Oak Shopping Center in Garner to downtown Raleigh.

During the first Fortify phase, drivers heeded the warnings and found ways to get around the work zone, which led to 13,000 fewer cars on the highway during construction.

"Anything you can do," McFarlane told business owners, "even if you just have two people carpool, that's one more car off the road."

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  • raphael27520 Dec 4, 2014

    "officials will talk with business owners about getting cars off the roads. DOT officials hope to get as many as 30,000 vehicles off the highway during peak commute times"
    I guess Business owners can fire 30000 employees to alleviate traffic.

    The Unbelievable incompetence of NC DOT planning.
    Instead of using to opportunity to expand the needed roads when they have to rebuild I-40/440 due to Incompetence of using poor /substandard materials , They REDUCE the number of lanes available .

  • Hammers Dec 4, 2014

    If weren't so pig headed about even looking at the idea of mass transport, we might not have this problem.

  • busyb97 Dec 4, 2014

    haha. Good luck with that! What exactly are they expecting businesses to do? Shift their hours?

    Can you imagine a town like Chicago doing that? They always have major construction...you just do it! If they wanted that many cars off the highway, they should have done this after they finished 540 loop! That would have helped alot.