Raleigh - A shift onto newly built inside westbound lanes of the Fortify I-40 rebuild project took place early Monday morning. The shift puts about two miles of I-40 West traffic onto three new lanes from west of Lake Wheeler Road (Exit 297) to west of the Avent Ferry Road bridge. A similar shift for I-40 eastbound traffic in the same area took place last month.
Crews spent last week preparing for the move by moving barriers and painting new lane markings. The new traffic pattern has westbound drivers on essentially, a brand new interstate with a smooth road surface.
Eventually, concrete barriers will be moved back in place to provide protection for workers who will be tearing up the roadway that had been used along that stretch of interstate until this morning.
There will be more lane shifts to the inside travel lanes over the summer, with the next section to change being in the westbound lanes by the I-40/440 split in southeast Raleigh. That move could take place in a few weeks.
All traffic over the 8 1/2-mile length of this section of the project should be on the new inside lanes by early fall. That will crews to rebuild the three outside lanes in both directions along the entire length.
Because this is a very busy work zone, the Department of Transportation urges drivers to pay extra attention getting in and out of the new traffic pattern. They should also slow down while traveling through the entire work zone, where the speed limit is 60 mph. Drivers should avoid distractions, such as smartphones, and concentrate on the vehicles in front of and beside them. A majority of crashes in the work zone have been the result of distracted or speeding drivers.
Road improvement projects like this one 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.
More information about the lane shifts and the project itself is on FortifyNC.com, including traffic updates, live traffic cameras and information about alternate transit options.
Real-time travel information is also available at any time in the Traveler Services section of the NCDOT website or by following NCDOT on Twitter.