Local News

I-40 Detour Sends Drivers Into More Congestion

Posted April 24, 2007 7:55 p.m. EDT

— To ease congestion associated with the I-40 repaving project, the Department of Transportation set up a detour. But that new route might have been a mistake, DOT officials said.

DOT asked drivers to take the Durham Freeway to I-85 to get back onto I-40 and miss the construction. But construction was also taking place on that stretch of I-85. The two projects had an unplanned meeting Sunday night.

Driver Kevin Epps said he took the detour expecting a smooth ride, but he was stopped in his tracks in another construction zone.

“It was horrible,” Epps said. “I went through it. It was just a huge mess. I just ended up having to turn back around ... I didn't even go where I was really planning on going. I just didn't feel like dealing with it.”

DOT engineers say they're sorry drivers like Epps are upset, but they did not intend to detour people from one back up into another.

“It's unfortunate that it happened, but I believe that it was from accidents as opposed to construction, and we're going to do everything we can to monitor our impacts to make sure it does not impact these detours,” said DOT Engineer Aaron Earwood.

The DOT says drivers need to be aware. Even though I-85 is the I-40 detour, it is still an active construction zone.

The I-40 and I-85 project engineers will stay in close coordination to hopefully avoid another detour into a delay, officials said.

DOT officials still say I-85 to the Durham Freeway is the best bet to avoid I-40 paving delays.