Bye-bye Beltline!

RALEIGH Construction is set begin.

"When I got here 12 years ago, I had no idea what an inner or outer beltline is," driver Tom Sweeny told Eyewitness News.

"You just kinda have to figure it out," driver Avis Hatcher-Puzzo.

But you won't have too much longer. Soon, drivers can say bye-bye Beltline.

The DOT is making the changes.

The 8-mile stretch in south Raleigh that is called 40-440 will lose half that title and be called I-40.

The other part, which you might call the top of 440, will drop the Inner and Outer Beltline labels and become 440 East and 440 West.

The section from U.S.1 headed toward Garner will be 440 East. The reverse of that will be 440 West.

Like the road, opinions of the changes go two ways.

"East, West, Inner, Outer, you still gotta read really fast and where you're going, and no, it's not gonna work," Hatcher-Puzzo said.

Sweeny disagrees. "I think it'll be effective, I think it'll really help," he said.

Another big change has to do with helping one of the area's busiest bottlenecks. In about 23 months, there will be additional lanes of traffic.

One lane will be added -- making three in each direction from Wade Ave. to Jones Franklin Road. Years from now, you can expect a fourth.

That's great news for Sweeny, who says he avoids that stretch like the plague.

"The morning commutes for rush hour between RTP and other places is just terrible," Sweeny said.

The last part of the project will include improving the signage on I-40 eastbound at the Wade Ave. split. The goal is to make the signs clearers so there are less last minute maneuvers from one lane to the next.

But it all adds up -- $49 million to be exact.

Hopefully all of the changes will mean fewer headaches on Raleigh roads.

Work zones are being established now and construction should start soon on the 23-month project.

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