Traffic

I-40 Lanes, Exit Lane on I-540 Added to DOT Priority List

Posted October 31, 2007

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— The state Department of Transportation has added widening Interstate 40 in southwest Raleigh and a second exit lane off Interstate 540 at I-40 to its seven-year priority list, officials said Wednesday.

The two projects are among 10 that have been added to the latest draft of the annual Transportation Improvement Plan, which contains priority highway, ferry and aviation projects statewide over a seven-year period. Public hearings will be held on the TIP this winter before the plan is presented to the state Board of Transportation next summer.

The collector lane on I-540 would alleviate a bottleneck created this summer after the DOT opened a 4.5-mile extension of 540, called N.C. Highway 540, between I-40 and N.C. Highway 55.

The new highway was supposed to ease congestion and give drivers more options for getting into Research Triangle Park, but DOT eliminated one of two collector lanes for drivers planning to exit westbound I-540 at I-40, creating long backups during the morning commute.

The TIP also calls for adding an auxiliary lane to westbound I-40 between I-540 and Page Road to accommodate the merging traffic.

Right-of-way purchases would be funded in fiscal 2009, and construction would begin the following year, according to the draft plan.

I-40 also would get additional lanes between Wade Avenue in Raleigh and U.S. Highways 1/64 in Cary. Traffic is squeezed from three lanes to two lanes in both directions on the four-mile stretch.

A wide highway median could allow creating an extra westbound and an eastbound lane without much difficulty, officials have said. The draft TIP calls for construction to begin in 2010.

48 Comments

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  • mfalesana Nov 2, 2007

    Yeah I get stuck in the 540 to 40 bottleneck every morning and I hate it. Some days it's not so bad and others it is terrible. I think it's mostly because you have all these drivers doing 80-90mph trying to race up to the front and cut in and that makes everyone slam their brakes and then it backs up a bunch. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • loudnoises Nov 1, 2007

    So the extra lane on 540/40 is on a 7 YEAR list? There needs to be an extra lane NOW. And 540/70? That's a joke. Seems the DOT can't even keep up with growth, let alone stay ahead of it.

    However there is a couple short cuts heading into Raleigh that breeze you through: Leesville and either Lumley or Airport Blvd. Just cruise through the airport and you pop out the other side beyond the back up. Leesville adds about 5-6 miles to my commute but I still get home half an hour faster.

  • SheriffTruman Nov 1, 2007

    CaptMercury. The Turpike Authority is doing some iffy things no doubt. (like also eliminating the Davis Drive exit off of NC 540) but I doubt it is because of any developers on a panel. Develpers would want as much access as possible so more land can be developed, not less access.

  • sczarnecki Nov 1, 2007

    Thats not a priority list, (thats a WAITING list) priority list means NOW.Can't you not fore see this!with all the traffic.And now DOT whats to wait another 3 years,look at it now,its a parking lot.It will be tripled in 3 years. I drive that every day.Any body could have seen this problem coming,that should have been done while you were working on 540 at the time.Not to hire a consultant firm.

  • PaulRevere Nov 1, 2007

    You can the some environmentalist whackos for the delays as well. We can't damage a clam just so YOU can get around town! It's obvious the NCDOT nees a major overhaul. It took South Carolina a lot less time to widen I-95 in Florence than it takes the DOT to actually PLAN a project. GEEZ!

  • hp277 Nov 1, 2007

    The N&O story says I-40 bridges will be widened to 8 lanes to allow for future widening. The cost to 8-lane this stretch of I-40 is $60 million vs. 6-lane is $39 million. It is a shame so much money is being wasted on freeways and loops in rural areas.

    Meanwhile, Durham got screwed again by NCDOT - construction of the East End Connector got pushed out 2 more years to 2014. It has only been on the books since 1960.

  • buzzcub Nov 1, 2007

    OK, I just re-read the last two paragraphs. The bridges will remain as is. I still think it will be a bottle neck in the future and should be replaced anyway...because it is 2 lanes.

  • buzzcub Nov 1, 2007

    What about the I-40 bridges over US1? It is two lanes in each direction. Absolutely, I'm all for additional lanes, but those bridges will have to be modified or replaced.

  • Capt Mercury Nov 1, 2007

    ... and the DOT stupidity continues with their idea of closing the NC-147 access to Alexander Drive in RTP. Actually, this may be the NC Turnpike Authority's idea that the NC DOT rubber stamped. I don't trust this Turnpike Club. Check out who's on it. Developer, developer, road builder, developer,....

  • orbnc Nov 1, 2007

    Why isn't the real issue addressed? Get in the appropriate lane and stop cutting in at the last minute! Everyone wants an additional lane from 540 to 40. Why doesn't anyone mention the bottleneck in the evening at 70 and 540. There are two lanes from 70 and it still bottlenecks. People think the world revolves around them and they will get home or to work soo much quicker is they cutoff a few extra cars. Learn how to merge and get in the correct lane!

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