I-40 stripes a safety hazard?

AP image (AP)

January 26, 2011 8:35:40 PM PST
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is admitting it's got a problem on its hands along Interstate 40 at Wade Avenue.The DOT has yet to re-paint the stripes in the widening project, so it has been very difficult for drivers to see the lines and figure out the designated lanes where I-40 and Wade Avenue merge heading from Raleigh to Durham.

It's even more difficult in the rain, which is also one of the reasons why it hasn't been fixed.

"It is confusing," driver Katy Hamrick said. "There are multiple lines all over the road. It's hard to tell which ones you need to be in, which ones you don't."

A tow truck operator for AAA, Danny Mayton says he travels the area several times a day.

"If you don't know where you're going if you're not accustomed to the highway when you're coming from Raleigh into Durham, it's real tricky because you see the new lines and the old lines where they didn't get them up all the way," Mayton said. "I've seen several accidents out there."

The head DOT engineer on the project admits it's a safety hazard.

"It's definitely a concern ... with the amount of traffic we have on I-40 and on rainy days and at night we definitely need to get these pavement markings refreshed as soon as we can," Steve Moore said.

But he says re-striping the lanes is not easy.

The improvements on the eastbound side were done recently on a warm, dry Sunday.

The DOT says it has to wait for another dry, warm window for the paint to stick and it can only close lanes when there's not a lot of traffic on the interstate.

The first possible chance is this weekend when it's going to be in the 50s, but there's another catch.

Raleigh's hosting the NHL All-Star Game and Moore says they're not going to shut down any lanes when thousands of visitors will be traveling through the area.

"We are waiting for the magic window to pop back open so we can address westbound as soon as possible," he said.

For those familiar with the area, officials say be extra cautious for the thousands coming through the area who aren't sure what they're in for and where they need to be.

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