Crews start work in final phase of Project Fortify

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Crews are beginning work on the last portion of Project Fortify on Interstate-40 in Raleigh.

It may be the final round of work, but it’s going to have the biggest impact on commutes.

Starting late Friday night, crews are going to be reducing lanes on a stretch of I-40 East, starting at the Lake Wheeler Road exit.

For the next year or so, that part of road is going to be cut down to three lanes, so the North Carolina Department of Transportation is trying to alert drivers to the change in roadways.

“I have to ready myself for battle every day to get out there,” said driver Mari Peters.

“It’s chaotic now if you drive over and look over there. But when they do that funnel like thing coming up, it’s going to be real chaotic, traffic’s going to be backed way up,” said driver John Lucas.

Eventually both directions of I-40 from Lake Wheeler Road to the I-40/440 split will be down to three lanes so crews can replacing the eroding pavement.

Drivers will also have to be on the lookout for new traffic patterns throughout construction.

“They bring everything down to a three lane pattern. They go in and actually dig up all of the lanes that are closed, rebuild those entire lanes. Then they shift traffic over onto those newly rebuilt lanes and start working on the next lanes,” said Mike Charbonneau, deputy secretary of communications for NCDOT.

NCDOT officials know the impact these changes will have on drivers, so they are urging people to plan ahead and find ways to avoid this area of I-40 as much as possible.

“Check the traffic conditions before you go out. See if you can make another plan. Look at some of our public transit options that we have,” said Charbonneau.

Project Fortify is supposed to wrap up by the end of 2016.

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