I-40 lane changes now permanent

January 25, 2012 10:10:21 AM PST
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is making lane changes around westbound Interstate 40 and the Clayton bypass permanent.

After a rain delay, workers began putting down lane markings Wednesday to make the lane shift official. The shift has been in place since mid- September with barrels and temporary lane markings.

Some drivers complained it created a bottleneck, but the DOT said Wednesday it is happy with the results. A DOT study showed travel speeds after the shift was made increased during the morning commute when compared to the previous year.

"The goal was to reduce the confusion and congestion at the merge point and improve the overall traffic operations through the area," NC DOT State Traffic Engineer Kevin Lacy explained.

The change eliminates the existing outside third lane as the Clayton Bypass merges onto the interstate. It prevents motorists from trying to go around traffic backups in the inside lanes and cutting back in, which prompted complaints from motorists who use the bypass.

Lacy said the new traffic pattern will stay in place until more I-40 lanes are added. That's several years down the road, possibly not until 2017.

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