Raleigh - A major step in the Fortify I-40 rebuild project took place Monday night as construction crews opened three newly rebuilt lanes on about a 2-mile stretch of I-40 East near Gorman Street (Exit 295) in Raleigh.
The milestone also means a new traffic pattern, which has drivers traveling on the inside eastbound lanes from just before Lake Dam Road until they approach Lake Wheeler Road.
Construction crews prepared for the move the past several days by putting down layers of asphalt and new lane markings. They also replaced concrete barriers that for several months have separated the construction crews from the three outside travel lanes with traffic barrels.
Lane shifts will take place on I-40 West in the same area in the coming weeks. That will be followed in June by similar shifts to the inside lanes in both directions at the eastern end of the project by the I-40/440 split.
All traffic over the 8.5-mile length of the project should be on the new inside lanes by late summer.
Moving traffic onto the inside lanes means crews can immediately begin rebuilding the three outside lanes in both directions, also in stages.
For the safety of motorists, their passengers and work crews, NCDOT urges drivers to pay extra attention to get used to the new traffic pattern. They should stay in their own lanes during the shifts onto and off the new section of roadway, slow down and obey the 60 mph speed limit, and watch for construction signs. Drivers should also avoid distractions and leave plenty of space between their vehicle and others, especially at higher rates of speed.
Concrete barriers will eventually be in place on both sides of the travel lanes, leaving very little room for driver error.
More information about the lane shifts and the project itself can be found on FortifyNC.com. That includes traffic updates, live traffic cameras and information about alternate transit options.
Road, bridge, and other transportation improvement projects like the Fortify project are currently underway across the state as part of Governor McCrory's 25-Year Transportation Vision to enhance travel safety and to better connect North Carolinians to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation opportunities.
New transportation projects in the state's current 10-year plan are funded through the Strategic Mobility Formula, a new way of more efficiently investing transportation dollars by using a data-driven scoring process along with local input to fund more projects and create more jobs. The new mobility formula was passed into law in 2013 under Governor McCrory's leadership.