Wanted: Witty name for Beltline project


— The upcoming rebuild of Raleigh’s southern Beltline might make some commuters cringe, but the state Department of Transportation is trying to bring some levity to the situation by naming the project.

Inspired by several cities’ decision to do the same – like Los Angeles, which named the 53-hour closure of I-405 “carmageddon” in 2011 – Raleigh officials are calling on citizens to suggest witty names in order to raise awareness of the upcoming three-year reconstruction of Interstates 40 and 440 between U.S. 1/64 and U.S. 64/264. The DOT plans to use the winning name whenever it references the project.

“I-40/440 doesn’t roll of the tongue so well,” said Leah Friedman, DOT spokesperson. “People need a sense of humor to get through the project.”

The rebuild will cost approximately $168 million and replace all the pavement along the 11-mile stretch – used by as many as 110,000 cars daily. Construction will start next summer and reduce many areas to only two lanes for about three years.

Friedman noted that giving the project a name would get more people to think about the construction before it starts.

Most of the suggestions she has heard so far involve profanity, but Friedman hopes that the name will make people laugh and “save them some cursing.”

Submissions should be sent to Friedman by 5 p.m. Aug. 10 at lrfriedman@ncdot.gov. Names should be between one and two words long, with no profanity. DOT employees will pick five names, which the public will be able to vote on Aug. 14-17, and the winner will be announced Aug. 22.

The DOT is trying to prepare commuters for the serious delays the project will cause by promoting potential detours and suggesting carpool and public transportation options.

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