Public speaks out on makeover of Interstate 440 in Raleigh

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The changes to Interstate 440 include widening a three-and-a-half mile stretch of the beltline from Wade Avenue to Walnut Street in Cary. (WTVD)

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is ramping up discussions to widen Interstate 440 between Wade Avenue in west Raleigh and Walnut Street in Cary.

The three-mile stretch continues to be the source of bottlenecks - mainly because it only has two lanes in each direction compared to three on other stretches of the highway.

The $92 million proposed project also aims to fix poor sight lines, narrow shoulders and medians, and upgrade interchanges.

NCDOT spokesman Steve Abbott said the stretch was the first portion of I-440 completed in the 1960s and was not designed to handle the approximately 80,000 vehicles that travel on it daily.

"You've got to remember that when it was built Raleigh was a much smaller community," he said. "Traffic impact is going to get bigger and bigger and bigger."

Work on the project wouldn't start until 2018, which would be after the DOT completes work on I-40 known as the "Fortify" project.

Abbott said the DOT plans to keep traffic delays to a minimum when work begins.

"The goal is to maintain two lanes of traffic through the construction zone the whole time," he said. "Except for nights and weekends - there might be some lane closures."

The state held a public meeting Wednesday at Method Community Center in Raleigh to show the public what's proposed and let people ask questions.

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