Local News

I-440 backup expected for Tuesday evening commute

Posted January 8, 2013 3:34 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2013 5:05 p.m. EST

— Drivers on eastbound Interstate 440 near Western Boulevard can expect delays during the Tuesday evening commute as crews work through rush hour to finish emergency repairs, officials said.

The road work was originally scheduled for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, but officials decided Tuesday to work through the day with the goal of finishing by 7 p.m.

Raleigh Public Utilities Assistant Director T.J. Lynch said administrators changed their minds after seeing the major traffic tie-up that the construction caused for morning commuters. Lane closures on Western Boulevard caused vehicles to back up for miles onto Interstate 440.

“We always hope to avoid inconveniencing the public. It’s not what we want to do,” Lynch said. “Unfortunately in this situation, this temporary inconvenience to drivers was unavoidable.”

The city is conducting emergency repairs on a sewer line that broke last week underneath the 3900 block Western Boulevard. Lynch said city engineers wanted to bore through the side of the pipe to fix it, an approach that would not have required lane closures. But they determined a gas line was too close to the sewer pipe to allow a bore fix.

Instead, crews have to tear up the road surface to fix the line.

“We did not want to risk potential damage to the environment (with a sewer leak),” Lynch said. “And we didn’t want to close down businesses serviced by the sewer line. We are trying to do this as quickly and safely as possible.”

Lynch said the work was not conducted overnight out of concern for the safety of the employees.

The work Tuesday morning affected commuters coming into Raleigh from the north and west. The lane closures will be reversed Tuesday evening, so drivers heading out of the city onto I-440 near Western Boulevard should expect delays.