Raleigh - Drivers who deal with the Fortify project on Interstate 40 in south Raleigh on a regular basis are seeing the work gear up as more sections of the work zone are being shifted onto brand new inside lanes.
Three shifts took place in the past month, and now almost half of the I-40 West section has moved into a new pattern. That includes from South Saunders Street (exit 298) to the Avent Ferry Road bridge, as well as from the I-40/440 split in southeast Raleigh to Rock Quarry Road (Exit 300). The only sections on the westbound side on the old roadway are from Rock Quarry Road to South Saunders Street and near the U.S. 1/64 interchange in Cary.
On the eastern side, drivers are also on new lanes from the Avent Ferry Road bridge almost to Lake Wheeler Road (exit 297).
More shifts are coming in the next few weeks, especially for the eastbound lanes. The project is still on target to have everyone on new inside lanes over the entire length of I-40 this fall.
And as traffic moves to those inside lanes, construction crews quickly start tearing up the outside lanes to start rebuilding those as well. There will also be a series of weekend-long ramp closures along the project route as crews adjust the ramps to fit the new traffic pattern. But in each case a short detour route or alternate routes will be available to help lessen the impact to drivers.
With more of the improved roadway lanes opening, there may be the temptation to increase speed through the work zone. But drivers are reminded that the 60 mph speed limit remains in effect for their safety, as well as their passengers, occupants of other vehicles, and the construction crews working along the travel lanes.
In addition to being dangerous, speeding in the work zone can be financially costly. In addition to the fine and court costs for a speeding ticket, getting caught in a work zone can mean an additional $250 fine. And in some cases, a potential increase in insurance rates.
The safest thing to do is stay within that 60 mph limit, and avoid distractions like talking on a cellphone, changing radio stations, eating, or looking at construction activity. A majority of crashes in the work zone have been caused by speeding and/or distracted drivers. A reminder that even at 60 mph, a vehicle can get through the entire length of the project in less than 10 minutes. And speeding, even to 70 mph, saves less than a minute of travel time.
Project details, as well as traffic updates, live traffic cameras and information about alternate transit options can be found on FortifyNC.com. Real-time travel information for Fortify and other highways across the state is also available at any time in the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or by following NCDOT on Twitter.