Tata said during a news conference that the contract for the project has been awarded to Granite Construction of Tampa - which made the lowest bid at $130,129,000.
Tata said he would have preferred to wait until Highway 540 was finished all the way south to I-40.
"Then you would have a way to dissipate traffic," he explained.
But Tata said the rapid deterioration of the pavement of the road has become a safety issue.
"We cannot delay. We have to do this project now," said Tata.
Tata said engineers hope to speed up the work and reduce the impact on commuters by doing the project in stages. The plan also calls for temporary lanes and a mobile asphalt plant to keep trucks out of travel lanes.
Tata said the NCDOT has done extensive planning to help drivers find alternative routes. The NCDOT is working with Raleigh and Cary to time traffic lights and communicate detours. There will be additional information signs and the NCDOT is allocating up to $12 million to create bus routes from Johnston County into Raleigh and increase frequency on current bus routes for the life of the project.
During the work, contractors will replace the pavement on I-40 between west of the Jones Franklin Road overpass and the exit for I-440/U.S. 64, and on I-440 between I-40/U.S. 64 and just north of U.S. 264 (Knightdale Bypass).
The project will also add extra travel lanes between ramps in each direction on I-40/U.S. 64 between U.S. 1/64 (Exit 293) and Lake Wheeler Road (Exit 297), as well as an extra westbound lane on I-40/U.S. 64 between the ramps at Rock Quarry Road (Exit 300) and the I-40/US 64/I-440 interchange (Exit 301).
In addition, 14 bridges on I-40 and I-440 will be rehabilitated.
The DOT said the highway is 30 years old, and workers need to dig down at least two feet to remove and replace concrete and asphalt on the road, shoulders and ramps.
Officials originally estimated the project will take three years to complete, but Tata said Tuesday he hopes to shorten that to two and a half years.
Tata said having good highways and infrastructure is crucial to easing congestion and attracting business to the Triangle.