DOT says closing lane near Clayton Bypass easing traffic flow

Posted November 3, 2011

— Some drivers would be hard-pressed to believe it, but state transportation engineers say that an effort to ease congestion on Interstate 40 in Johnston County by closing a lane is working.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation on Sept. 14 blocked off a lane of westbound I-40 where the U.S. Highway 70 Clayton Bypass joins the interstate. Engineers said drivers had been using the lane to pass slower traffic during morning rush hour, creating more delays as they tried to merge back into traffic later.

Six weeks later, many commuters say the shift is a flop.

"If anything, it made it worse. Cutting the lanes down, it just makes the traffic more congested," Robbie Evans wrote on WRAL-TV's Facebook page.

Other drivers, however, said the DOT's experiment appears to be working.

"(We) love it. It has made our commute much faster each day," Robert and Amanda Willis wrote.

DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said Thursday that the experiment is "going about as we expected," but engineers want to collect data for another two weeks before deciding whether to make the lane closure permanent.

I-40 traffic Drivers divided on success of lane closure on I-40

Traffic is a little slower approaching the Clayton Bypass on westbound I-40, Abbott said, but in the merge area itself, the changes are improving traffic flow.

"It's fast enough in the merge area that you're covering for that deficit (before the interchange). So overall, the trip is shorter and faster," he said.

Drivers on the Clayton Bypass are seeing longer delays as they try to merge onto I-40, he said, but engineers are trying to focus on the higher volume of drivers on I-40.

If the DOT decides to keep the lane closed, crews will replace the orange barrels with a more permanent design in the coming weeks.


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  • mcbpetit Nov 9, 2011

    They should take a look at Exit 301 and try to fix that. The problem starts there and backs up to Exit 312. When you come off the Clayton By-Pass onto I-40 the traffic is already at a stand how can the problem be caused by the by-pass? It continues to be congested until you pass Exit 301. The only reason it seems to have improved the flow of traffic on I-40 is because most of the people now take an alternate route. Check out how much the traffic has increased in those areas.

  • f1reems29 Nov 4, 2011

    Has the DOT checked the amount of traffic that has started using the old 70 business through Clayton. Traffic has doubled there so are they really fixing anything?

  • jlc280z Nov 4, 2011

    It definetly sucks for all of us using the by-pass. The problem is due to DOT making I-40 3 lanes wide only in that area and not continuing it to exit 306. People using I-40 west just use the new third lane to pass everyone in the 2 original lanes, that causes the problems. Instead of making west bound I-40 traffic shift right, just block off the new right lane so they couldn't get in the merge lane to begin with. Problem solved.

  • hp277 Nov 4, 2011

    If people would use the merge lane for merging at highway speed, instead of passing every last possible car only to cut in at the last second, traffic would move smoothly.

    But all it takes is a few drivers who think their time is more important than anyone else's on the road to screw up a smoothly operating merge area.

    Those who are complaining about losing this lane they used to 'pass slower traffic' have no one to blame but themselves.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 4, 2011

    This is a band aid fix at best.

    If they really want to fix the problem, they need to add a third lane each way on I-40 between the US-70 Bypass exit in Clayton and the US-70 exit in Garner.

    Can't believe the DOT thought it was a good idea to merge 2 lanes of I-40 traffic with 2 lanes of US-70 Bypass and not expect to have problems during rush hour.

    Once again our incompetent DOT messes up.

  • I-40 Warrior Nov 4, 2011

    As I make this commute every weekday around 7 a.m., I regrettably agree that the current "solution" is "less onerous" than the previous traffic flow. However, to say it's better implies that it's good. It's not; it's less bad. The only real solution here is to extend that 3rd lane all the way until the 3rd lane begins at 70 (exit 306). That's a little over 2 1/2 miles and would include dealing with 2 overpasses and the more problematic bridge over 70 at White Oak. To be clear, that's the only real positive realistic longterm solution to this congestion.

  • dgcreech Nov 4, 2011

    Great idea Familymatters! I agree. They also should station SHP all along Hwy 70 itself since it has become the new Race Track.

  • missharrison39 Nov 4, 2011

    I really believe that it sucks it makes traffic more difficult to get by most Mornings open up the other lanes so passing vechicles can get by........

  • abylelab -BT- Nov 4, 2011

    it is better. now instead of stopping and rolling to cover 1 mile in 10+ minutes, the traffic only slows a little bit, and for the most part keeps on moving.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Nov 4, 2011

    basically they're having to undo progress because of people's poor driving habits. Sounds about right.