“Beautify Fortify” begins this fall

The I-40 Fortify project — which repaired pavement and modernized the freeway by adding ramp connector lanes between interchanges — completed a few months ago. It has improved travel conditions while creating an improved travel surface.

Soon, it will do even more.

While the project was still under construction, RTA reached out to NCDOT to see if any of the I-40 interchange areas could be enhanced. The RTA regional travel experience focus team — chaired by Jim Beley, general manager of The Umstead Hotel and Spa — hoped to take advantage of the opportunity for a visual improvement at the I-40 exchanges in south Raleigh that serve as gateways to the capital city.

Thanks to an inspiring partnership between NCDOT and the City of Raleigh, that is exactly what is about to happen.

NCDOT will frequently dedicate a portion of funds for major roadway reconstruction projects to plantings along the completed corridor. With support for future maintenance from the City of Raleigh, the I-40 Beautify Fortify project will place:

  • More than 1,400 plants/trees
  • Over 3,000 cubic yards of mulch
  • Over ½ million square feet of pine straw

Every I-40/I-440 interchange in south and southeast Raleigh: Gorman (I-40 exit 295), Lake Wheeler (297), South Saunders (298), Hammond (299), Rock Quarry (300), and Poole (I-440 exit 15) will receive plantings and enhancements.

The total investment by NCDOT in these vital gateway interchanges will be around $1.8 million.

According to Joey Hopkins, PE, the lead executive for NCDOT Division 5, the contracts for the landscaping work are not done during the project, but instead immediately afterward, to take advantage of appropriate planting and growing seasons.

Clearing is occurring now, and planting will begin this fall in October. The work will be complete by spring 2020, and it will take about one year to fully establish the plantings.

The RTA applauds NCDOT and the City of Raleigh for their work to Beautify Fortify! The RTA regional travel experience focus team looks forward to the results in the next few months, and we will also look for other opportunities going forward.

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation

post reference: th3.2019.35

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