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DOT Unveils 'Quick Fix' Plan To Solve Traffic Woes On I-540

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DURHAM — If you are frustrated with the daily jam at the intersection of I-40 and the Outer Loop, theN.C. Department of Transportationsays there is some relief in sight. Crews started work Tuesday on a pair of "I-540 quick fixes."

Ed Spencer takes people from Durham and the Triangle area down to the airport to catch flights. He says he does not like the daily hassles of I-40.

"You want to kind of avoid it because you'll get tied up in traffic and everything," he says.

Once you make it through the squeeze zone, there is another problem. The traffic from I-540 mixes with the I-40 traffic. Traffic between I-540 and Page Road can be a bottleneck.

The DOT just started work on a quick I-540 fix. By grinding off lane markings and using the shoulder, crews are adding another lane. Instead of three lanes down to one, it will be three down to two.

"It's relatively inexpensive, it's something we can do right now rather than wait for funding for major project improvements," says DOT engineer Wally Bowman. "It is not a complete fix. It's just to help eliminate some of the merging and weaving we have."

The second part of the plan is as simple as fixing the lights and the traffic lights on Page Road, one exit west of I-540. The lights will now stay green as often as possible to keep traffic flowing off the interstate.

Building a new interstate lane can cost millions. The price tag for the DOT's I-540 quick fix is about $5,000, and it should be completed by March 1.


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