Local News

NCDOT: Avoid Fortify delays and take a bus

Posted February 9, 2015 4:50 p.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2015 8:39 a.m. EST

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation wants to get 30,000 vehicles off the road every day to cut down on congestion during the Fortify project, and officials hope buses are part of the solution.

The state is spending $12 million to offer more public transit options – including buses - during the project to rebuild 11.5 miles of Interstate 40/440.

The Johnston County Express, which takes people from the Cleveland area to downtown Raleigh, started in 2013, just before the first phase of Fortify.

Laurie Barrett, director of transit partnerships with Triangle Transit, says ridership on the route is growing.

“We were averaging 20 riders a day. Now we're up to 44 a day,” she said.

Last month, Triangle Transit added routes from Fuquay-Varina, Clayton and Cary to prepare for the bigger delays expected on I-40 later this year.

“I think once the traffic builds up from the 40 portion of the construction, I think the ridership will continue to grow,” Barrett said.

NCDOT project engineer Amir Nezarati hopes so. He says getting people off the road is about more than just reducing congestion.

“Everyone's going to be safer with less volume - the workers, the traveling public,” he said.

But first, transportation officials have to persuade people in the suburbs to leave their cars behind and take a bus or vanpool to work. State employees may be eligible to ride public transit for free.

“Just try the bus once,” Barrett said. “Just one time and see if you like it.”