Portion of I-40 makes national worst commute list

March 25, 2011 1:30:55 PM PDT
A stretch of I-40 is being called one of the Worst Commutes in America.

The survey says between peak hours, commuters are inching along, literally, just under two miles an hour. The DOT is working on the problem but money may keep drivers in slow motion.

Ask any Triangle commuter and they've got an I-40 story.

"It's terrible," driver Al Julian said. "It's about every other day you can count on some kind of delay on 40 during peak hours."

A new national survey says the worst corridor in the Triangle for burning patience and gas is between Airport Boulevard and Highway 54. It ranks 47th worst, according to GPS data collected nationwide.

The nearly seven miles of roadway can instantly turn into a parking lot during peak traffic.

"When I'm headed home in this area, especially in the RTP area, it's very congested," driver Michelle Anglade said.

However, according to the NC DOT, the number one worst bottleneck for commuters is on the eastern end from Harrison Ave. to Highway 64. That's where road crews are already working to widen I-40 to six lanes by this summer.

It's a major project that's costing a whopping $50 million.

The bad news is none of those funds will be used to widen the road on the western end, from Harrison Ave. to Airport Blvd., much to the chagrin of RTP commuters.

"Talk to the people in Raleigh and get some money out our way," Julian said.

DOT officials say tight budgets may mean the stretch of road will continue to make commuters cringe.

"[You] just get kind of frustrated and in a hurry," Anglade said. "I'm a New Yorker, so I'm always in a hurry."

It doesn't matter where you're from. Traffic delays are frustrating for everyone.

The NC DOT says while it doesn't have funding for the western side, it has started a study group to looking into ways to improve traffic flow at interchanges along i-40 in the troubled area.

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