Local News

I-540 Work Snarls Holiday Shoppers

Posted December 16, 2006 2:56 p.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2006 6:55 p.m. EST

— State transportation officials, taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather to speed work on a new section of Interstate 540, unintentionally put coal in the stockings of some holiday shoppers Saturday.

Traffic backed up as far as two miles from the Capital Boulevard exit after workers closed the exit to Capital Boulevard northbound and limited the southbound exit to one lane. The southbound exit takes shoppers toward several retail outlets, including Triangle Towne Center.

The workers were paving the part of I-540 that will extend from U.S. 1 in North Raleigh eastward to the new U.S. 64/264 Bypass in Knightdale.

Paving is difficult in cold weather, and state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lisa Cowley said officials decided late Friday to mobilize paving crews because of the unusually warm weather that is predicted to last through Tuesday.

"During this time of year, it’s very unusual for us to get a window of opportunity to pave as we have over this past week, and into this weekend," said Reese Briley, NCDOT resident engineer for the project.