As Fortify wraps up, DOT begins other major projects in 2018

Posted January 12, 2018 9:41 a.m. EST
Updated January 12, 2018 12:28 p.m. EST

— It might seem like road construction projects around the Triangle never end, but at least one big project will be completed this year while crews will prep for two other major ones.

After almost five years, workers are wrapping up the last phase of the Fortify project along Interstate 40 in south Raleigh. But the final touches have been delayed.

Steve Abbott, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation said there's a reason drivers haven't seen much going on there lately.

"The weather and the holiday break have stopped us from doing anything for a couple of weeks now," Abbott said.

As the temperatures warm up, crews will be able to do the striping they need to open new lanes.

"With the temperatures getting into the 50s and 60s, you're going to see a lot of activity there," Abbott said.

Then, drivers will see two other widely anticipated projects start this year.

First up is the widening of I-40 between N.C. Highway 42 and Interstate 440. The DOT is adding two lanes in each direction of the congested highway and revamping interchanges at NC-42 and the Beltline. Construction could start later this year and go until 2022.

The second big project on the docket is widening the Beltline itself. The project will add a lane in each direction between Walnut Street in Cary and Wade Avenue in west Raleigh, replace bridges and redo some interchanges.

The contract will be awarded later this year. Drivers might see some preliminary work late in the year, Abbott said.

The construction will be treated sort of like Fortify, which had two lanes open in each direction. There will also be concrete barriers and traffic impacts.

Abbott said to watch for Raleigh's Union Station to open this year downtown, too. Crews have been working on the railroad track, and officials expect Amtrak to move into the station in mid-2018.

Work also continues on phase two of the Hillsborough Street redesign in Raleigh. Contractors have run into a lot of problems and delays, but they're hoping to have the job finished by late spring.

Abbott said drivers might see some progress on the plan to complete the I-540 loop, too.

The public will be able to comment on the environmental impact report this year, and construction could begin as early as 2020.