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Some I-40 lanes, ramps closed tonight

Some lanes and ramps will be closed for paving and marking work tonight, in both directions, as part of a project to widen I-40 in West Raleigh and Cary, DOT said.

Two outside lanes on I-40 East will be closed between Cary Towne Boulevard (Exit 291) and the Jones Franklin Road bridge, and one outside lane on I-40 West will be closed between the Jones Franlin bridge and Mile Marker 292,  from 9 p.m. tonight to 9 a.m. Saturday.

These ramps also will be closed from 12 midnight to 5 a.m.:

I-40 East to U.S. 1 North (Exit 293A);
I-40 East to U.S. 1 South (Exit 293B);
U.S. 1 South to I-40 East (Exit 1A);
U.S. 1 North to I-40 East (Exit 1A).

Detours will be marked.

The work is part of a $49 million project, to be finished this month, to widen I-40 between Wade and the Jones Franklin Road overpass.

Durham Freeway road work will close lanes, clog traffic all weekend

View NC 147 Durham Freeway road work in a larger map

Be prepared for detours and long delays if your weekend driving takes you northbound on the Durham Freeway (N.C. 147) in Durham -- starting tonight (Friday), NCDOT said.

Better yet: Just don't go there.

A $4.7 million DOT project to rebuild and repave the road will close all northbound lanes tonight and Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on parts of the Durham Freeway between Ellis Road (Exit 8) and Swift Avenue (Exit 14).  Some lanes also will be closed during the day Saturday and Sunday.

Tonight's closing is from Alston Avenue to Swift Avenue.  Detours will be marked, but you can count on backed up traffic long before you reach Alston Avenue. ... [MORE]

I-40 East will be clogged tonight, closed at Wade exit

Nighttime paving operations will close the four outer lanes on eastbound I-40 tonight between Harrison and Wade avenues, and the Wade exit will be closed, DOT said.

Expect major delays.

I-40 east will be reduced to one inner lane from 9 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

These ramps also will be closed from 12 midnight to 6 a.m.:

I-40 West to U.S. 1 North (Exit 293B);
I-40 West to U.S. 1 South (Exit 293A);
U.S. 1 North to I-40 West (Exit 1B);
U.S. 1 South to I-40 West (Exit 1A).

Detours will be marked.

The work is part of a $49 million project, to be finished this month, to widen I-40 between Wade and the Jones Franklin Road overpass.

Memorial Day drivers will find the nation's cheapest gas in South Carolina

Average US gas prices for the past 2 yearsGas prices are falling as we head toward the first big travel weekend of summer, and the AAA Carolinas motor club says more North Carolinians are planning road trips for the Memorial Day holiday.

If you're driving south this weekend, you might want to tank up in South Carolina, where the state average price of $3.573 is the nation's lowest, according to the Oil Price Information Service.

Triangle drivers are paying an average $3.705 a gallon for self-service regular. That's down a dime in just the past week, but nearly a dollar more than we paid a year ago.

Why is our gas more expensive than South Carolina's? Most of the difference is in taxes.  North Carolina adds 32.8 cents in tax and inspection fees to the price of each gallon (only 12 states have higher gas taxes).  South Carolina's gas tax is only 16.8 cents, lower than all but three states' rates, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

AAA cites the recent gas price drop, and an improvement in unemployment numbers, in its prediction that 865,000 North Carolinians will travel this weekend, mostly by car -- a 3 percent increase over last year's Memorial Day numbers. ... [MORE]

Watch for major nighttime backups on I-40 in West Raleigh this weekend

Nighttime paving and construction operations will close lanes and exits on Interstate 40 in Cary and West Raleigh this weekend, DOT said.

Expect major delays.

Three outer lanes of eastbound I-40 will be closed between Harrison and Wade avenues from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday and from 9 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday. The Wade Avenue exit also will be closed both nights.

Also Friday night, the ramps from I-40 East to U.S. 1 South, I-40 East to I-440 East and U.S. 1 to I-40 East will be closed to install guardrail. Detours will be marked.

Two inside lanes of westbound I-40 will be closed between the Jones Franklin Road overpass and Cary Town Boulevard from 9 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.

The work is part of a $49 million project, to be finished in June, that will widen I-40 between Wade and the Jones Franklin Road overpass.

Senate delays vote on $797K bill to rip up highway median

A bill intended to re-engineer some road projects that legislators don't like was pulled from the Senate floor today and rerouted "for a little further workup" in the Rules Committee -- which sometimes serves as a legislative graveyard -- at the request of the Rules chairman, Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville.

House Bill 561 would require NCDOT to tear out nearly one-half mile of a center median recently built on NC 191 in Asheville, and replace it with a center turn lane -- at a cost estimated by NCDOT at $797,500.  [See today's story with reader comments.]

The bill also would require NCDOT to cancel plans to install medians, which restrict left turns, on parts of U.S. 70 in Kinston, U.S. 64 in Asheboro and Winstead Avenue in Rocky Mount. ... [MORE]

Senate to vote on vetoing 4 DOT highway median projects

A Senate floor vote is scheduled Tuesday on a bill that would require NCDOT to rip up part of an Asheville highway project, and to re-engineer a growing list of road projects that some legislators don't like. [5/10/11 update: see today's story.]

The projects – four, at last count – all feature new center medians that are designed to limit left turns. DOT says they'll cut crashes and ease traffic congestion.  Some merchants say they'll be bad for business. Legislators disagree over whether these decisions should be left to DOT or subject to the General Assembly's oversight.

DOT figures it would cost an extra $797,500 to rip out a half-mile of center median recently built as part of a project to widen NC 191 in Asheville, and replace it with a center turn lane as specified in the bill.  The other affected projects ... [MORE]

Wider is better on a changed I-40 in West Raleigh

I-40 wideningFor commuters who travel west on Interstate 40 around West Raleigh, the Monday morning drive to work was the same old bottleneck.

But the ride home this afternoon will be a lot nicer than it was last week. (If you're a driver affected by this project, I'd like to hear from you for a story I'll be reporting today. Pls email me with your name, contact info and thoughts.)

All three lanes are open now in the newly widened stretch eastbound of I-40 between Wade Avenue and the Jones Franklin Road overpass near the U.S. 1 / 64 interchange.  That will mean a big improvement in the afternoon rush hour for thousands of Research Triangle Park workers and other commuters -- and it means a few changes for all drivers.

The morning rush will improve as DOT opens the third lane for westbound drivers over the next week or so. Crews are working at night to open a mile or so at a time.

Along with two more lanes, drivers should pay attention to changes at both ends of this project. ... [MORE]

NCDOT prepares to start building Rolesville Bypass

US 401 Rolesville BypassThe state Department of Transportation is about to award a $25 million contract to build a four-lane, six-mile U.S. 401 bypass around fast-growing Rolesville in northeastern Wake County.

Work is expected to start in June, with completion in July 2014. It's the next phase of a longer project to widen U.S. 401 from the 540 Outer Loop to N.C. 39 at Louisburg in Franklin County.  The bypass around Rolesville -- whose census count grew from 907 in 2000 to 3,786 in 2010 -- has long been a priority on Wake County's road-improvement list.

Devere Construction Co. of Alpena, Minn., is the apparent low bidder with a proposal to do the job for $24.96 million, nearly 20 percent below DOT's cost estimate of $30.88 million.

Also in Wake County, DOT is about to award a $3.7 million contract to resurface U.S. 1 (Capital Boulevard) for 4.7 miles in North Raleigh from Hodges Street to north of Sumner Boulevard. The work is to begin in June, with completion by Nov. 18.

I-40 gets wider in West Raleigh, starting tonight

View I-40 widening in a larger map

I-40 between Cary and West Raleigh will start getting wider tonight, finally, as construction crews start removing the orange cones so drivers can use all three lanes in each direction.

DOT officials warn drivers to watch out for a new traffic pattern that will take effect Tuesday morning. Drivers who go from northbound U.S. 1 to eastbound I-40 will see a yield sign for the first time, because they'll be required to merge with I-40 traffic.  Previously, this U.S. 1 exit lane turned into a free-flowing lane on I-40, and no merging was required. (See traffic map attached to the end of this post.) ... [MORE]

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