Construction crews rebuilding Raleigh’s southern Beltline are scheduled Friday night to start pushing traffic into three outside lanes in each direction on Interstate 40.
The first lane shifts will be on westbound I-40, the Inner Beltline, starting at Lake Wheeler Road and moving west to the end of the work zone at U.S. 1 in Cary. Traffic backups are expected Friday night when I-40 is reduced to two lanes at 9 p.m. and one lane about 11 p.m.
The freeway shoulder will become the new outside lane. The traffic shifts will allow crews to begin demolishing the median and inside lanes. Eventually, after the inner lanes have been rebuilt, the state Department of Transportation will move traffic to the inner lanes and begin rebuilding the outer lanes.
DOT says it will take about a week to shift I-40 West to the outer three lanes from Lake Wheeler to U.S. 1, and another week to complete the same shift on I-40 East from U.S. 1 to Lake Wheeler.
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This four-lane stretch of I-40 normally has just three lanes each way, so the impact on traffic is expected to be moderate. Chronic traffic delays are expected starting in July, when sections of I-40 four and five lanes wide are reduced to three lanes each way, on four miles of the freeway west of Lake Wheeler Road.
DOT has warned drivers that #BeltlineJam work will add 30 minutes to regular rush hour trips during the next year and a half, until the $130 million project is finished in the fall of 2015.
The project involves the replacement of freeway pavement and support slabs on 11.5 miles of Raleigh’s southern Beltline, I-40 and I-440, one of the Triangle’s busiest roads with up to 120,000 cars and trucks each day. A chemical reaction in the underlying concrete has caused it to crumble.
Project updates and traffic maps are online at www.ncdot.gov/fortifync/.