Commuters Could See Relief on I-40 Stretch

Posted May 18, 2007

— Relief could be coming within the next few years to some commuters along a five-mile stretch of Interstate 40 in Wake County.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, a consortium of local leaders in the county, voted unanimously this week to make widening the roadway from U.S. Highway 1 to Wade Avenue its top priority for the next fiscal year.

About 100,000 vehicles get stuck in the traffic every commuting day in the problem area, because it goes from three-lanes to two.

"The mayors in Wake County just saw this as being a major problem that needed to be resolved," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said Friday. "It could be resolved pretty quickly, so that's the reason it's at the top of the CAMPO list."

Department of Transportation officials said the project could take two years or less to complete, partly because of the wide grass median that separates the eastbound lanes from the westbound lanes.

The stretch has no utilities to move, no rights-of-way to buy. The landscape, road engineers said, could save time and money. It would still cost an estimated $32 million, the DOT said.

But even though the proposal to widen I-40 on each side is a priority, it must go to the DOT for approval before the funding request goes to the General Assembly.

Then, it would be among proposed projects across a seven-county area. If approved, money would come from the Highway Trust Fund and construction could start by in 2009 with new lanes by 2011.


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  • turnpike420 May 20, 2007

    Chemgrad - At the CAMPO meeting last Wednesday where this was decided, I spoke directly with someone who works for the NCDOT. It is $32 million for this project to make it 3 lanes in each direction. They did investigate making it 4 lanes in each but that required additional planning and lots of extra work, estimated at $65 million. So, they decided to take the baby step approach and give it one lane. I'm guessing if I-40 between 147 and 15/501 hadn't been screwed up and misshandled so badly, there might have been more money and a chance for the larger lane increase. I'll take the 1 though. On 1/64 between 64/Tryon and 1/64/40/440 interchange, that one lane and extended exit/entrance ramps has made a HUGE difference. I know, I drive it daily. How long will that last? Hard to say.
    write your NC Legislative reps and tell them you don't want tolls on 540!!

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy May 20, 2007

    JBunny, They don't DROP the gas tax....if they add tolls, it's in addition to whatever ELSE they're already getting. That's the problem, they're getting more and more, and we're seeing less and less done. Although we are starting to see a bunch of them end up in federal prisons for stealing our money, which is about time. It's JUST time to clean the house out, and get a new batch in, and keep a better eye on the spending.

  • JBunny May 19, 2007

    I'd GLADLY pay tolls if they would actually DO something about the roads here - not to sound all Yankee and cliche - but a lot more would get done. Also, we'd definately see where the money is going to. Gas taxes here are some of the highest in the country. Drop the gas taxes and add some tolls!

  • Mulberry May 19, 2007

    That stretch of road doesn't just affect Cary, it hurts anyone living east of it. We live in Raleigh near the Farmer's Market, didn't have issues with where we lived until we took jobs in RTP (I know, BIG MISTAKE!). When the seven-year highway plan came out and that stretch of 40 wasn't even mentioned, we started looking at moving out of Raleigh/Wake Co.

    What I would really love to know is who finally brought some attention to the issue. Even with the traffic reports in the morning referring to the "usual delays between Gorman St and Wade Ave" - it's been bad for a long time and is just getting worse with the growth in the area - it seemed like other projects (such as 540) had all the support. Hardly ever heard this stretch of road mentioned.

    Not that I'm holding my breath on it being fixed any time soon, especially with still needing to get funding and there being lots of other worthy projects out there... but it's nice that it's being acknowledged as an issue (finally!).

  • Durham-Raleigh May 19, 2007

    $32 million for widening an existing road vs. $800 million for a brand new road. Big difference. And there are other new projects coming out of the Highway Trust Fund in the Triangle... including projects that have been on the books as planned, allocated freeways for literally decades before I-540's southern side was planned.

    BTW, I-540 will serve big parts of Cary... not just Apex.

    People make choices about where they live. Choosing to live in a more distant suburb is, indeed, a choice. And not one that entitles same to free megasuperhighways. There's terrific and often quite affordable housing options closer to RTP in Morrisville, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Durham, and North Raleigh. No one is forced to move to Holly Springs, Apex, etc.

  • Hip-Shot May 18, 2007

    They say it may cost $32 million. Wonder how much cost in gasoline and time is wasted during the course of a year sitting in traffic?

  • rdu May 18, 2007

    About time!!! They have widened every road in the Triangle and I-40 in the Triad and have done nothing with this section. This is a major factor in the bottleneck every morning and afternoon. They need to work on the Beltline from Wade Ave to Us 1 while there at it.

  • joco cruiser May 18, 2007

    Since there is no money to pay for it, guess this will allow them to put tolls up there also. After all, it is new construction.....Ain't that the rules?

  • str8-line May 18, 2007

    How is it that any roadwork performed for those people who live in Cary gets priority treatment? The area around HWY1 and HWY64 was completed in record time. But now for those other people who live in Apex they put up with 5+ years of disruption to complete the HWY 55 project to RTP?
    And anyway we were supposed to be out of money for road construction. wuzupwifdat?

  • Chemgrad May 18, 2007

    They should widen the entire stretch to at least four lanes now instead of doing it half right now and needing to fix it again in ten years.