NCDOT improves I-40 exchange at NC 54 Raleigh/Cary — just in time for the fair

Several years ago, NCDOT completed a strategic widening of I-40 between Wade Avenue and US 1/64 in response to an RTA request. That improvement, which began in 2009 and was completed by 2011, relieved what had been the region’s top freeway bottleneck by expanding the roadway from two to three travel lanes per direction between Raleigh and Cary.

This week marks the substantial completion of the first improvement for that section of I-40 in the eight years since the widening. NCDOT has just improved both of the off-ramps for the NC 54 interchange (exit 290).

Existing westbound I-40, the ramp now has four travel/storage lanes:  two that turn left at the ramp termini towards Cary, and two that turn right towards Raleigh.

Existing eastbound I-40, the ramp has three travel/storage lanes:  one turning right towards Cary, and two turning left towards Raleigh.

In addition, the storage lengths have also been lengthened for both ramps — not only do the ramps have more lanes, but the extra width extends for a longer distance.

This excellent improvement project — which just began a few months ago — has tremendous benefits for travelers, whether they use this interchange or not.

  • For drivers exiting the freeway at this location, the additional turning lanes will mean that more vehicles will be able to get through the signal during each cycle, which will reduce their delay as they travel between I-40 and NC 54.
  • For drivers staying on I-40, the additional turning lanes and longer storage lengths on the ramps will result in shorter queues of exiting traffic that will be less likely to back up onto the freeway. This will relieve congestion and improve safety on the Interstate.
  • For drivers crossing over I-40 along NC 54, the additional turning lanes for the off-ramp traffic will mean that some signal cycles can be shorter, which will reduce their through travel time on NC 54.

This has been a remarkably cost- and time-efficient project, and one that will benefit travelers traveling on or through this area from day one. Given that today marks the opening of our state fair — one of the largest annual events in North Carolina — this improvement could not come at a better time.

Today also marks the annual meeting of the I-40 Regional Partnership — a collaborative effort coordinated by RTA in concert with NCDOT and other partners for more than a decade. The North Carolina Department of Transportation and many partners are constantly working to improve multimodal travel on I-40 and other freeways. The regional business community applauds this improvement project and all of the Department’s efforts to keep us moving safety and efficiently.


Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation

post reference: th3.2019.42

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