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Insights I-440 Widening Project Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Design (US Project Stories)

Hi, my name is Jill Gurak, I'm a Practice Director and have been with Atkins 22 years.

A project that I would like to highlight is the I-440 Widening Project Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Design. It involved widening of approximately 6.5 miles of I-440 from Walnut Street to Wade Avenue in Raleigh, NC.

Several diverse groups from Atkins worked together to assist including Roadway Design (alternatives development and preliminary design), Water Resources - Hydraulics (preliminary hydraulic structure analysis), Sciences – Ecosciences (wetland and stream delineation, endangered species surveys), Transportation NEPA – NEPA documents, public involvement, agency coordination, Community Impact Assessment, Traffic Noise study and Transportation Planning – Traffic Operations Analysis.

image of a highway

The NEPA documentation was completed in May 2018. 

The project was awarded to a design-build team, and it is currently under construction. Expected completion is 2024 and it’s located in Raleigh and Cary, NC (Wake County).

The project is being completed to make the I-440 Beltline consistently 3 lanes in each direction, to improve traffic flow, upgrade substandard interchanges and fix poor roadway conditions in the corridor.

This project will impact the community by improving the oldest section of the Raleigh beltline, improving traffic flow and upgrading six interchanges to modern standards. Mitigation includes constructing noise walls where there were none before and homes were subject to high levels of traffic noise. Coordination with the Method Road community, a minority community around a historic school/park resulted in aesthetic enhancements to a nearby bridge and community upgrades to the side of the noise wall facing the community.

My personal highlight is that the NCDOT let me develop a unique ready-friendly format for the Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact that made this complex project much easier for non-technical people to understand. Interest in the project was intense from the surrounding communities and the clear graphics and documentation helped NCDOT communicate with the stakeholders to achieve acceptance of the project.