DOT to replace signs on Raleigh's Beltline
Posted July 23, 2009 5:59 p.m. EDT
Updated July 23, 2009 7:04 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Inner and Outer Beltline designations for parts of Interstate 40 and Interstate 440 in Raleigh will soon be no more.
The Department of Transportation will begin next month a $49 million widening project on a 6.2-mile stretch of I-40 that will include revising signs for I-440 with east and west designations.
The new interstate route numbering is meant to help ease motorist confusion about travel on the Beltline.
The loop around downtown has had various names and numbers since construction began in the 1960s. It was renamed I-440 in 1996.
Since that time, the lanes that travel clockwise have been called the "Inner Beltline," while the lanes that travel counter-clockwise are labeled "Outer Beltline."
The eight miles where I-40 and I-440 overlap from Exit 293 to Exit 301 will be re-labeled I-40, as seen in the map below.
The rest of the current loop will continue to carry the I-440 label. Although drivers in both directions will head north of downtown to get where they are going, the road will be labeled I-440, either east or west.
DOT engineers said they do not know exactly when the signs will be replaced. The widening project – from west of Wade Avenue to east of the Jones Franklin Road crossover – is expected to be complete in 2011.
The roadway improvements – designed to ease bottlenecking in the area – include adding a 12-foot lane and a 12-foot shoulder in each direction of I-40 and expanding the interstate from four to six lanes.
The new shoulders will be built to the same depth as the roadway, which will allow for easier expansion of the highway in the future.
The bridges carrying I-40 over Wade Avenue and U.S. 1/64 will also be widened so they will have the capacity for eight lanes.