Clearcutting of trees along I-440 part of latest project that will last through 2023

Wake County News

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) There is a good chance residents have noticed a lot of trees down in Cary and Raleigh and it’s all because of a major project now underway.

The reason? It’s because of the ongoing Interstate 440 and Blue Ridge Road Improvements project underway. The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s schedule says clearing of trees and construction was set to begin in Fall 2019, indicating this project is on time and the reason why residents are seeing trees come down.

I-440 improvements

Major construction will take place through 2023 between south of Walnut Street in Cary and north of Wade Avenue in Raleigh. Drives should expect major closures and detours throughout construction.

NCDOT’s plan is to improve traffic flow, access and efficiency along the Raleigh Beltline. Changes include widening of I-440 from four to six lanes, replacing pavement and bridges, and upgrading interchanges.

According to NCDOT, the widening of I-440 will coincide with lowering the grade of Blue Ridge Road and constructing new bridges for Hillsborough Street (N.C.54), Norfolk Southern Railway/North Carolina Railroad/CSX Transportation and Beryl Road, to reduce congestion and train-related conflicts with vehicles and pedestrians.

A new connector will link Blue Ridge Road and Hillsborough Street.

Drivers should keep in mind that the first major closure associated with this project will happen Sept. 30. The Melbourne Road bridge over the Raleigh Beltline will be closed for one year. NCDOT will demolish the bridge and build a new one.

How will this impact drivers?

  • The existing Melbourne Road ramp onto the Beltline will remain open to traffic.
  • Westbound traffic on the Beltline will be able to exit to Melbourne Road by using a detour to DeBoy Street.
  • For the next year, a signed detour will direct drivers south and east of the Beltline to take Kaplan Drive to Athens Drive to cross I-440, then to Jones Franklin Road, Western Boulevard and Powell Drive to get to Melbourne Road on the opposite side of I-440.
  • Traffic traveling north and west of the Beltline will follow a detour on the same streets, but in reverse.

Closure schedule:

  • I-440 at Melbourne Road will close in both directions for five nights from midnight to 5 a.m. beginning Oct. 7 to accommodate the safe demolition of the bridge.
  • Eastbound travelers will exit I-440 at Jones Franklin Road, detour to Western Boulevard, and back to the Beltline.
  • Drivers heading west will take the Western Boulevard exit and turn left on Jones Franklin to get back to I-440.

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