Fortify lane reductions in place on I-40 West; longer travel times expected

Posted August 14, 2015 5:25 a.m. EDT

— Crews working on the Fortify project in south Raleigh completed long-awaited lane reductions early Friday morning on a section of Interstate 40 West.

Crews used orange barrels to block off the inside lane of I-40 West between the I-40/440 split and Lake Wheeler Road. Parts of the highway went from five lanes to four, and other sections from four to three.

Eventually, orange barrels will give way to concrete barriers, which will stay in place through the end of 2016.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials expect the additional lane closures to add up to 30 minutes of travel time through the work zone.

Beachgoers looking to soak up the final rays of summer sun could also notice backups, especially during Labor Day weekend.

DOT spokesman Steve Abbott says vacationers should try to stagger leaving and returning to the Triangle to avoid significant delays.

"Try to stagger it. If you can leave in the morning, if you can leave the next morning," he said. "Take an extra night of vacation and come back the next morning. That would help, too."

Abbott says drivers should consider using I-440 as an alternate route when I-40 is backed up. He also said drivers can expect even more congestion once summer ends and traditional-calendar schools begin.