Drivers on I-440 east near Poole Road started following a new traffic pattern last week, the most recent change that allows crews to continue work on the Fortify project that repairs major roadways in the greater Raleigh area.
Drivers traveling east on I-440 near the I-495/US-64/264 interchange now use two new lanes on the inside of the interstate as crews rebuild the shoulder and outside lane that was previously reserved for drivers.
Drivers trying to access the Poole Road and I-40 exits should pay special attention, as it will require a sharp move to the right, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a release.
This pattern will be in place until the I-440 phase of Fortify ends, which is scheduled to be later this year.
NCDOT representatives said the project is on schedule, although they are keeping an eye on weather, as it can delay paving and restriping, the last part of the repair process.
As crews work on the project and drivers get used the new pattern, NCDOT has implemented a 55 mph speed limit in the area, as it does in all work zones.
The lanes, since they are on the left side of the interstate, also do not have actual shoulders. Drivers experiencing car trouble are asked to try to make it to the next exit, where work ends and there is a shoulder off the right lane. If a driver can’t do that, NCDOT wants drivers to remain in their cars and call 911.
NCDOT expects delays in the area but has worked with regional transportation companies to provide other options to try to move cars off the road.
When the $130 million Fortify work began in October, it was estimated that at least 100,000 would have to travel in two lanes in different areas where repairs would be going on.
To help alleviate that, NCDOT has recommended the use of public transportation or carpooling.
For residents in eastern Wake County who work in Raleigh, Capital Area Transit offers a regular express route from Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon that picks residents up in 30-minute intervals and drops them off in downtown Raleigh.
Those routes run Monday through Friday from about 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., depending on what town a resident is departing from and again in 30-minute intervals from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.