Commuters may have noticed that westbound traffic lanes on Interstate 40 have reopened from Gorman Street eastward to near Rock Quarry Road on Raleigh’s southern Beltline.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials say the process of moving the rest of the westbound lanes into their final traffic pattern could be complete as early as Tuesday, if weather cooperates. But there are a few things people should look out for as this stage of the Fortify project nears completion.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, crews plan to shut down the Hammond Road exit on westbound I-40, Exit 299, to rebuild and repave the ramp. The exit is expected to reopen at 6 a.m. Monday.
During the closure, traffic will be routed on a detour to South Saunders Street, exit 298-A, and back onto I-40 to take the Hammond Street exit from the eastbound side of the highway. People who want to head toward downtown Raleigh can also take the other South Saunders exit, 298-B.
The stretch is still labeled a work zone, with a posted speed limit of 60 mph. Steve Abbott, a spokesman for the DOT, said drivers need to remain alert in the zone as crews pave a final layer of asphalt on the westbound side.
“We’re trying to get the message out to drivers through the area now that when we put that new layer down, there’s going to be a little bump,” Abbott said. “There are a lot of signs out to tell people to get ready, but people need to slow down and pay attention through that area.”
Fortify, the rebuilding of 8.5 miles of Interstate 40 between U.S. 1 in the west and the I-40/440 split near Garner in the east, is still expected to be complete sometime this fall.
The project began in 2013 with the 3.5-mile span of I-440 from the split near Garner north to the Knightdale Bypass. The current work began in 2015.
It will cost an estimated $183 million to replace the 12 miles of 30-year-old concrete pavement with improved asphalt. Several factors, including conditions of the soil under the roadway, have pushed the project over its starting budget of $130 million.