Local News

Repaving on Aging Beltline Might Cause Traffic Headaches

Posted September 14, 2007 7:34 p.m. EDT

— Triangle drivers are preparing for more lane closures and delays when a major repaving project begins on the Beltline later this month.

The state Department of Transportation plans to repave 13 miles of the Beltline, or Interstate 440, from Wade Avenue in west Raleigh to the split with Interstate 40 in southeast Raleigh. The year-long project will cost an estimated $8.5 million, officials said.

Most of the work will be done on nights and weekends but could still cause sizable delays. The repaving will take place on both sides of the Beltline and is scheduled to be finished by August 31, 2008.

DOT officials said the Beltline is a heavily traveled road that's also badly in need of repair. I-440 has not received more than quick pothole patches in decades, and in parts, the road is crumbling, officials said.

Jolted drivers agreed with the DOT's assessment of the interstate's condition.

"The road condition itself, it's just been torn up. It's deteriorated over the years," one driver told WRAL.

Another driver said he won't miss "all the potholes. And I mean, really, you're tearing up your trucks, your vehicles, your tires."

After patching potholes, DOT crews will use a new re-paving material called NOVA Chip, a thin yet tough asphalt layer that will bond to the existing surface. That cutting-edge road-building technology will last between seven and 10 years, officials said.

NOVA Chip can also be effectively applied with one pass, allowing lanes to be reopened more quickly, engineers said.

The Beltline repaving project comes after a DOT survey of all of North Carolina's roads to determine where the agency's money will best be spent. Although North Carolina has 8,000 miles of road, DOT officials said they survey showed that 70 percent of traffic statewide uses the same 5,000 miles of road each day.

Based on those findings, heavily-traveled roads, such as I-440, will be priorities for repairs, DOT officials said.