I-440 improvement project nears the end after 7 years

Ana Rivera Image
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
I-440 improvement project nears the end after 7 years
Built in the 1960s, the oldest section of I-440 will finally be upgraded for the 21st century.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For many drivers, it's the source of their morning headache, but after seven years in the making and after five years of construction, the end of the I-440 improvement is coming.

"Historically, this project had major congestion and safety issues due to the bottle-necking that you had in the past," said Cody Winkler, NCDOT engineer.

The Beltline just north of Walnut Street in Cary and south of Wade Avenue goes from six lanes to four, causing major congestion and safety concerns.

Built in the 1960s, it's also the oldest section of I-440.

"All of the interchanges were designed back in the '60s and so those are outdated. With the amount of growth that Raleigh has had, we've had to improve this whole area in general just to bring it up to current standards so we can get people on and off the interstate a lot easier," Winkler said.

In 2017, the DOT and the Federal Highway Administration completed an environmental assessment of the proposed improvements to I-440. Construction officially began in the fall of 2019. And the DOT said "growth" is the key word when it comes to this project.

"With the Raleigh area growing as much as it is, it was very important to get this last section of the Beltline widened so we could have a full corridor without Raleigh and around Raleigh just to make sure we didn't have traffic issues and flow issues," Winkler said.

Now in phase three, all traffic is on the westbound side so the eastbound lanes can be built. Soon, the Western Boulevard bridge will be demolished so a new one can be built. There's still a lot of work to do.

"This will be worth it once it's finally done," Winkler said.

According to the NCDOT, this project is scheduled to be completed in late 2024. It is on schedule, but we could see some finishing touches being made in early 2025.