RALEIGH, N.C. – A major project is underway to re-pave one of the busiest stretches of interstate in Raleigh. The North Carolina Department of Transportation says the 5-mile stretch of I-440, between Wake Forest Road and Lake Boone Trail, sees as many as 150,000 cars every day.

What You Need To Know

  • NCDOT has started resurfacing 5 miles of I-440 between Wake Forest Road and Lake Boone Trail

  • This area is one of Raleigh’s busiest stretches of interstate, seeing as many as 150,000 cars every day

  • The rough pavement was put on the road to prevent standing water and hydroplaning, but it hasn’t held up so it’s uneven and chipping

  • The majority of the roadwork will be done at night and the resurfacing portion of the project should be done by the end of 2023

“On this particular section of I-440, we are seeing traffic range from 140,000 to 150,000 cars a day,” Doug McNeal, the division maintenance engineer for NCDOT’s Division 5, said. “You'll feel that vibration, and you'll also feel a little bit of drop down into that half-inch dropoffs. There, you can actually hear the difference in the sound.”

McNeal says this section of I-440 was last repaved in 2009. A few years later, NCDOT put a different type of pavement over it to prevent standing water and hydroplaning.

“But the challenge and what we're seeing with this open grade friction course on these high traffic volume routes, we're not seeing the life that we were hoping we would see, which is leading to us changing our approach in this location,” McNeal said.

McNeal says the rough surface has definitely helped prevent crashes but, even after repairs about four years ago, the material hasn’t held up and is causing other concerns.

“Obviously with material coming off, we're getting a lot of reports of chipped windshields,” McNeal said.

Close up of some patchy uneven pavement on I-440. (Kyleigh Panetta/Spectrum News 1)

NCDOT originally planned to resurface this area of the Beltline in 2025, but it was moved up on the priority list, and the majority of the work will be happening in the overnight hours.

“You probably have 14 to 16 inches of pavement on the road. We're going to come in and remove the top layer, which is approximately two inches thick. At night we will come in, go down the lane, mill it off, put it back down and reopen into traffic for the morning,” McNeal said.

McNeal says all NCDOT projects require coordination, but especially one that involves one of the most used stretches of highway in the state.

“It takes a lot of different disciplines, different focused areas to pull together a project like this,” McNeal said.

While this shouldn’t impact too many people, if drivers see crews out working, it’s important to be careful and slow down. NCDOT says speeding and distracted driving account for over half of all work zone crashes in the state.

The resurfacing portion of this project should be done by the end of the year. Bridge maintenance, sign replacement and work on traffic cameras are also included in this $26 million project. All of the work is expected to be done in the fall of 2024.