Part of I-40 East closed overnight
Posted December 17, 2009 6:35 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2009 11:01 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 at N.C. Highway 54 (Chapel Hill Road) will be closed until 5 a.m. Friday.
The closure started at 9 p.m. Thursday.
Motorists traveling south on N.C. 54 should use the northbound on-ramp to I-40 East until midnight Thursday.
After midnight, motorists should take Exit 290 from I-40 to N.C. 54, cross over N.C. 54 and proceed back down the on ramp onto I-40 East.
Police officers will be present at the interchanges to direct traffic.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is is closing the lanes to begin installation on two conveyor belt systems at the N.C. 54 interchange that will transport stone and asphalt to the median area of I-40.
Contractors say the conveyor belt will help crews haul material into the median for construction work later without stopping traffic. It is estimated the belt will eliminate 237 lane closures and nearly 12,000 truckload trips.
The company working on I-40, S.T. Wooten Corporation, also worked on the Highway 98 bypass in 2005. S.T. Wooten installed a similar conveyor belt over Capital Boulevard, which reduced the number of times crews had to close any lanes.
“It minimizes greatly the amount of lane closures nightly,” said Michael Alford, of S.T. Wooten.
"If it does improve it and it's short term and gets done quickly, I think that's better," said driver James Edick.
Once installed, crews could start using the conveyor belts in the spring and keep the I-40 widening project on schedule.