Drivers on Interstate 440 East (the Inner Beltline) in Southeast Raleigh will get a taste of things to come this weekend when road crews close the inside lane – for the first time during daylight hours – as part of a three-year project to rebuild 11 miles of the freeway.
The inside lane of I-440 West (the Outer Beltline) already is closed for nearly the entire 3 miles between the I-40 split and the U.S. 64/264 interchange. If the weather is dry and warm enough over the coming nights, DOT engineers hope to get all of the westbound side closed this weekend and then spend the next week on the eastbound side, closing the inside lane for that same 3-mile stretch of I-440.
Starting Friday night, DOT also will close part of the inside lane of I-440 East near the I-40 split so road crews can do some preliminary work there. The inside eastbound lane will stay closed through the weekend, to reopen by Monday morning.
Within a week or so, DOT said, traffic on this part of I-440 will be fixed in a pattern that will not change for several months. Drivers traveling in both directions will be pushed to the outside lane and shoulder while workers demolish and rebuild the inside lanes.
The Beltline rebuild project is expected to worsen the daily rush-hour traffic congestion. The I-440 section in Southeast Raleigh is to be finished by late 2014. Then the work and the lane closings will shift to an 8-mile stretch of I-40 across South Raleigh, where traffic is heavier and the resulting backups are expected to be more severe.