Lane reductions, increased traffic expected next week in Fortify zone

Posted July 24, 2015 12:53 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2015 8:14 p.m. EDT

— Lane reductions that could create significant delays in the Fortify work zone will begin popping up on Interstate 40 East during the final week of July, state Department of Transportation officials said Friday.

Crews have been working on lane shifts throughout the work zone for several weeks, but lane reductions – the highway will go from five lanes to three in some areas – will be in place by late next week, weather permitting.

Crews working overnight will reduce travel lanes on I-40 East between Lake Wheeler Road and South Saunders Street first. On another night, the reductions will be extended between South Saunders Street and Hammond Road. Crews will close inside lanes of the highway so crews can begin to rebuild the roadway.

“Once the lane shifts and reductions are complete, crews will start rebuilding the inside section of the roadway,” Amir Nezarati, a senior assistant resident engineer for DOT, said in a statement. “This includes pipe installation, grading, crushing concrete and paving.”

Eventually, the lane reductions will extend from Lake Wheeler Road through the I-40/Interstate 440 split. Once the work on I-40 East is done, crews will begin lane reductions on I-40 West, starting at the split and heading west toward Lake Wheeler Road. Those lane reductions are likely to be completed by late August.

DOT officials estimate that drivers could see additional 30-minute delays during the morning and afternoon commutes.

When the weather is poor or traffic is further reduced by accidents, the delays could be longer. Officials say the recently completed section of I-440 on the east side of Raleigh could be a good alternate route for drivers to avoid I-40.