Raleigh - Commuters who use I- 40 East in the Fortify work zone in south Raleigh will find themselves on an expanded stretch of brand new roadway starting Monday morning.
Weather permitting, crews plan to shift traffic onto the three rebuilt lanes Sunday night from near Lake Wheeler Road (Exit 297) -where a stretch of new eastbound lanes currently ends -to just past the exit ramp for South Saunders Street (Exit 298).
It is the fifth traffic shift in the past several weeks, as crews have taken advantage of dry weather to make good progress on rebuilding the interstate. More of the new inside lanes are expected to open in the next few weeks, and drivers can expect to be traveling in new lanes the entire length of the 8.5-mile work zone this fall.
The shifts are necessary so crews can rebuild the outside lanes.
Later next week, crews tentatively plan to close the ramp from Gorman Street to westbound I-40 so that they can adjust it to fit the new traffic pattern in that section of the project. Work would start Thursday night, Sept. 22, and the ramp would reopen by Monday morning, Sept. 26. A short detour will be in place, and alternate routes will be available to get around the closure.
The department reminds drivers that improved travel lanes don't mean a change in the speed limit, which remains at 60 mph in the work zone for the safety of drivers, their passengers, occupants of other vehicles and the construction crews. Drivers should also avoid distractions, as concrete barriers in place on both sides of the travel lanes leave very little room for error.
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.