Raleigh-- Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane joined North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Secretary Tony Tata at a town hall meeting to encourage Raleigh area employers and their employees to practice smart commuting in order to lighten the traffic during Phase II of the Fortify I-40/440 Rebuild Project.
The purpose of the meeting, held in the Raleigh Convention Center, was to inform and prepare area residents for Fortify Phase II. Speakers in addition to Mayor McFarlane and Secretary Tata included: Mike Charbonneau, NCDOT deputy secretary for communications; Dennis Jernigan, NCDOT division construction engineer; David King, Triangle Transit general manager; C. Neal Alexander, director of the State Human Resources Office; and Joe Milazzo, executive director of the Regional Transportation Alliance.
Motorists driving through the Fortify I-40/440 Rebuild Project soon will see work ramp up on the I-40 portion of the project, known as Phase II.
As scheduled, Phase I is almost complete. The I-440 west section from the I-40 split to the I495/U.S. 264/64 interchange is scheduled to be in its updated traffic pattern by the end of December. The I-440 east section is expected to be open in its three-lane pattern by the end of January.
Fortify is a road rebuild project that is necessary for the safety of the 115,000 motorists who travel the road every day. A chemical reaction occurring beneath the surface of the 30-year-old roadway is causing the road bed to crumble.
In January, weather permitting, Fortify crews will phase in traffic shifts on both the I-40 east and west lanes near the Gorman/Lake Wheeler exits while construction takes place outside the barrier walls. Following that, crews will continue to put up barrier walls along the I-40 project work zone until this entire stretch of roadway operates in a three-lane traffic pattern.
To reduce the traffic impact NCDOT is asking local employers to help get 30,000 vehicles off the road during the following peak commute times:
Monday -Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m.
"Rebuilding this roadway is critical to keeping thousands of North Carolinians connected to jobs, education, health care and recreation each day," said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. "I'm proud that state government agencies, as well as other community partners are working together to provide innovative ways to keep traffic flowing and help drivers to get where they need to go while these important safety improvements are under way."
As Wake County's largest employer with more than 24,000 employees, State government agencies are proactively helping the road rebuild effort by offering its employees strategic ways to avoid I-40 and I-440 during peak travel times. Where possible these agencies are encouraging staff impacted by the project to take advantage of the following options:
Alternate work schedules;
Alternate work sites;
Alternate forms of transportation.
"These are not one-size-fits-all options for every agency and state employee," said C. Neal Alexander, director of the Office of State Human Resources. "Each agency can determine what is most appropriate and effective for its employees and tailor the options accordingly to ensure that productivity and efficiency continue during the most impactful portion of the project."
To help State employees with the cost of alternative transportation the North Carolina Department of Administration is offering North Carolina State government workers based in Wake County a GoPass as part of a pilot program associated with Fortify.