NCDOT's Complete 540 project still years from breaking ground

Posted December 17, 2013

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation's next big project – completing the Interstate 540 loop around Raleigh – is still years away from breaking ground, the agency announced Tuesday.

NCDOT officials had hoped to cross some routes off the list after a round of public hearings in October about the project, which will extend the highway from Knightdale to Holly Springs. However, there was no overwhelming feedback that helped them narrow down the 17 alternate routes.

The agency plans to move forward with a study of how the natural and human environment would be impacted by each proposed each route.

"We owe it to the community and the people in the region to pick the route with the least environmentally damaging affects so that we get the best route for the community, and we can explain it and that's what we are trying to do," said DOT chief engineer Terry Gibson. 

The next move is to conduct field work on the alternatives and prepare reports on each of them, documenting more detailed benefits, impacts and engineering components for the 17 routes. That will be followed by the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement in spring 2015. The Draft EIS will be available to the public for review and contain new information on the detailed studies.

The goal of the project, called Complete 540, to improve mobility and reduce congestion on the existing roadway network within the rapidly growing communities south and east of Raleigh, as well as provide a more direct route and quicker access to Research Triangle Park and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

For more information, visit, contact the project study team at 800-554-7849 or email


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  • RustyDawg Dec 18, 2013

    They should be buying land up in the mean time. The area between 264 and 40 is growing fast. Speaking of tolls, why shouldn't they slap a toll on the renamed 64? It's not an existing Interstate road so, if they are going to make it I-495, slap a toll on it! I still don't know why they didn't put a toll on the new I-485 around Charlotte. I guess they think the trickle of traffic coming out of Holly Springs will fund the state's new road projects. Does anyone at NCDOT have a clue past tomorrow?

  • IndependentAmerican Dec 18, 2013

    "The part that used to be I-540 had to be refunded to the fed government" I never understood that part. Someone said it was because we can't toll an interstate. That person has never traveled across PA - OH - IN on INTERSTATE 80; a toll road in all three states. I think it had more to do with who had control - the fed's or our own NC DOT, that upstanding stalwart of honesty, integrity and effeciency.

  • cjw6105 Dec 18, 2013

    My point was that DOT should finish what they began 50 years ago (US 1/I-440) before they starting on another, even longer and wider, (outer) loop (I-540).

    Anyone who has to travel 440 west in the afternoons from the North Hills and Crabtree Valley areas to Cary will tell you what a mess this has become with a freeway that funnels down to 2 lanes, and it gets worse every year. This leg of the Beltline already looks like the "Crawleigh" area.

    The widening of this 4-mile stretch of Beltline should have been done way before 540 ever hit the drawing board, and especially before the ongoing 3-year 440 repaving project.

  • Frank Downtown Dec 18, 2013

    My future grand kids might get to enjoy it!

  • spiritseeker Dec 18, 2013

    I once thought about getting a NC Quick Pass before a trip up North and decided to not get it after looking closely at the terms of having it. What got me was that I could not find out just how much of the pass holders money held by that company was liquid capital and not being used to make money that would be applied to its profit and thus not available for refund if the card holder decided to opt out of the program. Question is who is financially benefiting and is the state getting the bulk of the profit made by NC Quick Pass after their overhead expenses are deducted.

  • makeitright Dec 18, 2013

    Nothing will ever get done if they keep holding public hearings and expect the majority to like a certain route.. No one wants it in their backyard. Stop the "looking into it" and pick a route and build it.

  • HadEnough Dec 18, 2013

    What this is all about is the lack of tolls being collected on the already open road. DOT is airing a commercial that shows no one using the highway. How they going to pay for this if no one drives on it.

  • Smart Alex Dec 17, 2013

    I agree. It should be "effects" not "affects", but since this is in a quote, wral cannot change it. We will just have to live with it.

  • smcallah Dec 17, 2013

    "To this day I have yet to use NC540. I refuse to pay tolls for a road that I already paid for with my taxes."

    Except that you didn't, or else it wouldn't be a toll road. The part that used to be I-540 had to be refunded to the fed government. The tolls will be used to pay for the road. If any of your tax money paid for it, that is paid back into the pot with the tolls.

    Do you really not know how tolls work? Loans paid for the road. The tolls pay it off.

  • smcallah Dec 17, 2013

    "They've got a beltway that's been here for 50 years and still isn't finished (the widening from Wade Ave to Jones Franklin Rd), and they're having to re-pave much of the 440 eastern loop, yet they want to complete ANOTHER one (540)."

    Well, since 440 doesn't get people in areas that 540 covers to places they want to go, without them driving down city streets for miles at 45mph and less, I fail to see your point.

    If you've ever driven on 540, you can see that it is needed. Where else would all those cars be? On Six Forks Rd/70/Falls/Capital trying to get to 440 so they can get over to 40?

    What a nightmare that would be. They needed 540 before they could even think about fixing 440's problems.

    Or would you rather have 440 under construction and no other route for anyone to take? That would be so nice, huh?