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Plans to finish 540 loop back on track, NCDOT says

Posted September 9, 2013

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— The plan to finish the N.C. Highway 540 outer loop around Raleigh is back on track after legal wrangling put the project on hold for two years.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said Monday the project, dubbed “Complete 540,” will resume immediately with a study and a series of public meetings to determine the best options for connecting the final section of the outer loop, south of the city of Raleigh, from Holly Springs to Knightdale.

Advocates say completing the loop will reduce congestion and offer faster access to Research Triangle Park, the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and other areas on Wake County’s western side. It would also help mobility for communities south and east of Raleigh.

“It’s a very important project for economic development and the ability to move people’s goods and services around that region,” NCDOT chief engineer Terry Gibson said.

Terry Gibson NCDOT restarts project to close Raleigh's 540 loop

The project was sidelined in 2011 over concerns about a potential route for the highway called the “red route,” which would go through Garner. Town officials, economic developers and residents opposed the route, saying it would stifle new business growth.

Opposition to the red route grew so loud that lawmakers blocked state transportation officials from even studying it. That prohibition put the state in violation of federal laws requiring an environmental impact study for routes under consideration. In turn, federal funding stopped, essentially bringing the project to a halt.

But lawmakers in May approved changes to allow the red route to be studied, although they vowed it would never be built.

State transportation Secretary Tony Tata said the department can now complete all the environmental studies needed to get the project going. It will take about a year to finish the studies, and no funding has been set aside yet.

Groundbreaking wouldn’t happen before 2018, officials said.

The public is invited to offer input at three public meetings:

4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14
Wake Tech Community College
9101 Fayetteville Road
Raleigh

4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15
Barwell Road Community Center
3935 Barwell Road
Raleigh

6 to 9 p.m.Wednesday, Oct. 16
Holly Springs High School
5329 Cass Holt Road
Holly Springs
 

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  • bstslave2 Sep 10, 2013

    So construction was stopped in 2011 and the earliest it will start again is in 2018....and they are "back on track"???

  • ConservativeVoter Sep 10, 2013

    ""I-540 was built with federal money. It can only be tolled if the state gives the federal government back it's share of building I-540." Still not a clear explanation. Ever drive across PA - OH - IN - ILL on I-80 or I-90. Interstate roads as well as toll roads. What is the REAL problem with having the entire loop I-540? - IndependentAmerican"

    I-80 and I-90 were built prior to the creation of the interstate highway system. They were built through bonds issued by the states and the tolls are to pay off those bonds and maintenance.

    I-80 and I-90 were assimilated into the interstate highway system after they were built and constructed.

    Therefore you have Interstate Highways which are also toll roads.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Sep 10, 2013

    Toll roads are just inefficient. It creates another division of government to administer. Simply raising gas taxes (or income taxes or property taxes) would achieve the same thing without requiring additional administrative expenses.

  • Offshore Sep 10, 2013

    Why do people of NC feel entitled to non- toll roads?

    When you pay some of the highest fuel taxes in the country, where is the money going? I've never seen anyone toll a loop,(let alone a section of a loop) I could be wrong, just never seen it done. Seems like if they wanted to pay for the loop, they'd toll it all the way around.

  • Offshore Sep 10, 2013

    "But lawmakers in May approved changes to allow the red route to be studied, although they vowed it would never be built"

    That's a lie, why would you study the route if you don't intend to build it? Wouldn't the money be better spent looking at viable alternatives?

  • h2o1957 Sep 10, 2013

    PURPLE ROUTE or just widen 42. Orange and Red Routes are too close in to do much good. Garner could then incorporate ORANGE corridor to improve tax base.

  • IndependentAmerican Sep 10, 2013

    "I-540 was built with federal money. It can only be tolled if the state gives the federal government back it's share of building I-540."
    Still not a clear explanation. Ever drive across PA - OH - IN - ILL on I-80 or I-90. Interstate roads as well as toll roads. What is the REAL problem with having the entire loop I-540?

  • IndependentAmerican Sep 10, 2013

    "Hahaha, ya ain't gonna stop progression. Certainly not an Interstate. Pack up your bags Aunt Bea and move on cause I-540 is coming through. -bartmeister" Check again good buddy.... it isn't an interstate. It's NC540, not I-540. Not sure exactly why the northern side is I-540, but the toll road and the rest to be completed will be NC540. More back room bargaining I guess, that we'll never know about 'cause no one is talking.

  • thinkin out loud Sep 10, 2013

    I understand the need to study the route to appease federal regulations, but this proposed portion of I-540 is going to benefit Clayton, Fuquay, and Holly Springs residents, not Garner residents. Build it through their towns.
    Darwin18 September 9, 2013 7:04 p.m.
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    It is coming through Holly Springs and, with a few exceptions, we welcome it. We already know where it is coming through here and I suspect DOT has a plan already but Federal law requires the study of more than 1. I even gladly pay the toll. If this stupid law from the Dems had not have been passed this section would be under construction now. Instead it will be 2018 before it even gets going and at what additional costs???

    What I do find ridiculous is getting a bill for .53 cents or $1.28 when it costs the system $1.50 just to send the bill. That's known as spending a dollar to save a dime..

  • viking416 Sep 9, 2013

    They should have completed the Knightdale 540 connection to 40. When they start tearing up the 440...it's gonna be hell

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