State transportation officials have firmed up plans to start work in 2010 widening two clogged stretches of Interstate 40 in the Triangle, and in 2014 they will start buying land to upgrade a third section of I-40.
Morning commuters on I-540 will eventually have an easier time getting through the busy interchange with I-40 in Durham County near Research Triangle Park.
A $4.8 million Department of Transportation project will add a second lane to the crowded off-ramp from I-540 south to I-40 west. The added lane will continue a mile down I-40 to the Page Road exit.
Another rush-hour choke point will be eased when a four-mile, four-lane section of I-40 is expanded to six lanes between Wade Avenue and U.S. 1 in West Raleigh, a $38.5 million project.
The State Transportation Improvement Program for 2009-2015, released Wednesday, schedules construction in 2010 for both I-40 projects.
In Durham, the updated transportation plan calls for construction to start in 2013 on the East End Connector, which will join U.S. 70 and N.C. 147 to complete an uninterrupted freeway link between North Durham and Research Triangle Park. DOT officials had said in November that work on the East End Connector would not start until 2014.
The seven-year plan also earmarks money for preliminary work to relieve congestion on a third section of I-40 in southeastern Wake County.
This new project, estimated to cost $215 million, will add lanes to nine miles of I-40 from the Raleigh Beltline to the new U.S. 70 Clayton Bypass at the Wake-Johnston County line. Land acquisition is set to begin in 2014, with construction starting sometime after 2015.
Commuters will notice the need for more lanes on this part of I-40 after the Clayton Bypass opens to traffic on Tuesday. The new bypass, four miles east of the old U.S. 70 interchange, will pour thousands of cars and trucks onto a congested four-lane section of I-40.
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