Traffic Alert: Pattern shifts on I-40

Drivers are dealing with a traffic pattern change on Interstate 40.
September 21, 2011 9:11:07 AM PDT
Drivers are dealing with a traffic pattern change on Interstate 40.

The shift took place Tuesday night on I-40 west where the Clayton Bypass merges onto 40.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said the idea was not to shorten the long line of cars during rush hour, but to decrease how much time motorists spend in the line.

However, during the morning commute, DOT cameras showed traffic slowed down just before 6 a.m.

One driver yelled out their window that "it's stupid!" But few drivers had to come to a complete stop.

"I usually hit the Bypass about 6 a.m., 6:40 a.m., and there was some stop-and-go all the way to the Garner exit," commuter Allen Brice said. "It's probably gonna get worse and worse. I mean, one wreck is gonna throw them back a pretty good ways."

And while many attribute the problem to volume, the DOT blamed driving habits and what it called "cue jumpers."

Those are people who use the merge lane to pass a stopped line of traffic before running out of real estate.

"When they finally get in and people put on their brakes and then take off again, that's when you get that accordion effect," said Wally Bowman with the DOT. "So, it's making the travel times through that corridor where the Clayton Bypass comes in longer than we think they should be."

On the old pattern, the right lane could only be used by traffic merging from the Clayton Bypass onto I-40, which allowed motorists to wait until the last minute to merge if the I-40 lane was backed up.

The new pattern directs motorists from I-40 into one lane immediately.

The DOT is testing the new pattern over the next six weeks. If it works, engineers could make it permanent.

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