WORLD

Western Boulevard exit ramp from the Raleigh Beltline will close permanently

A tight, looping exit ramp that forces drivers to brake on the Beltline will soon be closing for good.

Exit 2A from westbound Interstate 440 on to eastbound Western Boulevard will close at 5 a.m. Thursday. Drivers will be directed to use Exit 2B, where for the first time they’ll be able to turn left onto eastbound Western at a new traffic light.

Exit 2B be renamed Exit 2.

The looping ramp at Exit 2A dates to the 1960s and is one of the reasons the Western Boulevard interchange is being overhauled. The suggested speed limit on the tight loop is 25 mph, and exiting drivers must brake before they leave the Beltline, forcing everyone behind them to slow down as well.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is turning the Western Boulevard interchange into a diverging diamond. The design involves crisscrossing traffic at either end of the underpass under the highway in a way that eliminates left turns and the amount of time drivers spend sitting at red lights.

The new interchange is part of the larger effort to widen this stretch of the Beltline from four lanes to six. NCDOT is also reconfiguring the interchanges at Wade Avenue, Hillsborough Street and Jones Franklin Road. Work began in the summer of 2019 and is expected to take four years to complete.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak. He’s been a reporter or editor for 33 years, including the last 21 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, [email protected]

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