Local News

New Section of I-540 Could Open by June

Posted April 10, 2007
Updated April 11, 2007

— The newest section of I-540 could open as early as May, but more likely in June, according to the Department of Transportation.

The new section from I-40 to Highway 55 promises relief to numerous drivers across the Triangle. But eventually, it will come at a cost.

The state has approved one section of the new 540, from Highway 54 to Highway 55, for conversion to a toll road. It will be a free highway at first, but it could become pay-to-drive as early as 2011.

Driver Rich Colson said he is opposed to it.

“Once you start with a toll road there, who's to say where the next toll road's gonna be?” he said.

Right now, 540 ends at I-40 at the Wake/Durham County line causing daily bottlenecks in the area. The new stretch of 540 will let drivers go over I-40 and off into Research Triangle Park, giving them several options to get into the Park without getting stuck on I-40.

Driver Paul Raye said he is tired of the traffic where the road squeezes down at I-40.

“It's a two-lane road, but the right lane is always stopped about two miles back. There's people always cutting in, and it really gets irritating,” he said.

50 Comments

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  • appgrad95 Apr 12, 1:59 p.m.

    Just like the lottery, this toll will be a new *optional* tax that I will never pay. I will just abso-freakin-lutely refuse to drive on it. I'm still PO'd that they've raided the highway fund for other pork-barrel spending and that this tollroad now "has" to be implemented in order to pay for it. I'm officially changing my screen name and my personal voting habit to "Vote Out All Incumbents" starting today. If we can't get term limits, that ought to do it.

  • Mac Apr 12, 11:21 a.m.

    Don't worry, In The Wind, they will get their train eventually, and you and I will be paying for it to go around empty all day.

  • InTheWind Apr 12, 10:36 a.m.

    The problem with the train idea is where they will leave you when they get you there. None of the Triangle towns currently have the transportation infrastruture to get you near your destination after the train drops you off. Goodness knows a taxi ride twice of day would be more expensive than gasoline. I may be wrong, but I have seen no discussion on moving people around town, only from town to town.

  • 68_polara Apr 12, 10:20 a.m.

    smoothtip is right. Dumb people do make dumb decisions. We keep having the train idea being push on us that will increase taxes because of its enormous cost. However, no one has done the necessary studies and surveys to determine how many people will be able to use it, during their commute, with the route they have planed. I think they are gambling that if we built it they will come. I'd like someone to show us that it will be used enough to have a positive impact on traffic before we spend a Billion dollars, and more, building it.

  • bbackus Apr 11, 8:05 p.m.

    A Toll Booth at each end of a 2 mile stretch of road?? Any old timers remember a DJ named Pat Patterson who "tonge-in-cheek" ran for president on the platform that he was going to make Raleigh the "Newark NJ of the South" with "Toll Booths every 2 miles" and gas stations on each corner.

    BTW, 540 is all paved and all the road signs are already up and guard rails too... Why the 2 to 3 month delay??

    ....Retired!

  • sick of people Apr 11, 5:28 p.m.

    "New Section of I-540 Could Open by June"

    Yeah Right!

  • smoothtip99 Apr 11, 4:43 p.m.

    The Raleigh Durham metro needs mass transit. A simple light rail system. It would help me out a lot. Dumb people makes dumb decisions. And I live on busline but where I live in North Raleigh it would take me an hour and a half to get to North Hills. That is ridiculous.

  • Spacewarp Apr 11, 3:40 p.m.

    Question for the legislators....

    Why is it we have so many departments that overlap and overlay on function? We are spending so much money on government, and our costs go up each year. There are dozens of departments for covering job training, welfare, medical, etc. Why can't that be combined into one logical unit and cut a goodly percentage of the budget and provide that money for being able to fund road work? Frankly, it's a waste of our resources. When our politicians want to start a new program that does the same as an old one, do they stop the old one? No. They just add another level of beureaucrats and costs. This needs to stop. We could provide all the funds needed to provide roads, schools and other needed services if we consolidated things to get rid of overlap.

  • Spacewarp Apr 11, 3:31 p.m.

    O.K. I get to toss out some real tough ones. Maybe one of our DOT friends can answer one or two of them. Maybe someone in our legislature can.

    We've been told over and over that it gets too hot in the summer to pour the roads. That the materials won't settle properly. Are you telling me that we're hotter than Houston? Because in 2004, they opened up a nice 385 mile loop around the city and did it in 9 years for a cost of $15 billion. The 540 project has been actively under construction since what? 1989? And they've finished now 24 miles of it? Until they opened up the 64 section (7 miles) they had a wonderful average of 1 mile a year. The costs have been estimated at upwards of over $38 billion. And the time frame puts it in 2035-2040 range. That's just sick. If we worked at that same pace, I-40 would go from Raleigh to about Burlington. What is taking so long and so much money. It certainly can't be the heat because Houston did it in less time for less cost.

  • nc lover Apr 11, 1:40 p.m.

    Do you ever notice when you pass construction areas - you see one guy digging a hole and 4 others standing around watching and smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee? Or is just me? And I never understand why you see them put a pile of dirt in one area - then move it to another area and then its back where it started. I don't know - maybe I'm being to critical. I never could figure it out. Guess that's why I'm not in road construction. LOL

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