As Stretch of I-540 Opens, Tolls Loom Over Future Segments

Posted January 16, 2007

— A new section of Interstate 540 opened Tuesday, linking Capital Boulevard at Triangle Town Center in Raleigh to the U.S. Highway 64 Bypass in Knightdale.

State Department of Transportation officials and Wake County politicians cut a ribbon on the highway Tuesday morning, about nine months after the $114 million, nine-mile stretch was supposed to open. Engineers said environmental concerns were the primary reason for the delay.

New interchanges with I-540 opened at U.S. Highway 401, Buffaloe Road, U.S. Highway 64 Business and U.S. 64 Bypass.

I-540 now stretches 26 miles, from I-40 near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, across north Raleigh to Knightdale. A section south from I-40 to N.C. Highway 55 south of research Triangle Park is expected to open in August.

Secretary of Transportation Lyndo Tippett said tolls will play a major role in financing the rest of I-540 across southern Wake County.

"With inflation, our funds have been exhausted. To build a mile of (six-lane, divided) highway such as this is now approaching $50 million," Tippett said. "We are looking at (tolls) as a method of building most highways in the future."

The southern and eastern portions of the I-540 loop are planned, but not funded. The southeastern leg between I-40 and U.S. 64 Bypass is the big question mark. The state doesn't even own the land in the corridor.

"Unfortunately, it appears (tolls are) the only source of funding that's acceptable," Tippett said.

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  • turnpike420 Mar 5, 2007

    Not happy about the possibility of tolls on 540? Some local concerned citizens have just launched a website dedicated to fighting tolls on 540. NO TOLLS ON 540!! is the site. Information is just now getting filled in. Please visit and let your opinions be heard. Thank you.

  • Z Man Jan 18, 2007

    Oh yea, give it to the north Raleigh people and charge the south Raleigh people. This aint right. All or none of 540 should be toll. If there's a law against adding tolls to an existing road, CHANGE THE STINKIN LAW! This ain't rocket science and it's certainly not fair. I won't use 540 anyway.

  • NC to GA Jan 18, 2007

    Wanna grow? Deal with tolls. They hit every city. I use TWO separate transponders stuck to my windshield for cities I visit regularly. You want the road? Plan to pay for it. Twice.

  • BIG YAWN Jan 17, 2007

    No more gas tax. I don't want to fund roads I don't intend to use. Let the users pay the toll. We already pay the highest gas tax in the southeast!

  • LTL Jan 17, 2007

    Lindo needs a new Lexus

  • inmyopinion3 Jan 17, 2007

    I'm guessing that like me if tolls are intorduced I will reduce the number of times I use the tolled roads, instead I will use the back roads, town roads to get where I need to! Tolls are double taxation and not welcomed, if tolls are intoriduced then gas tax needs to be removed completely otherwise expect urban traffic to increase as people try to avoid paying double taxing toll fees.

  • gvmtcheese Jan 17, 2007

    Has anyone taken the time to see if the prices that are being paid for these construction projects are the best the decision makers can do? 114 million for a 9 mile stretch? Seems a bit steep to me.

  • gwerbi Jan 16, 2007

    Go for TOLLS!...Mainly on I95, let the New Yorkers and Florida druggies pay for the damage they do to the roads.
    Face-it, Tolls or no road.

  • killerkestrel Jan 16, 2007

    I-95 has seen little improvement over the past 40 or so years that it has been open. While it now needs many improvements (increase from 2 to 4 lanes in 20 years), it has been generating funds for the last 40 years with little spent on maintenance. While I-40 and other roads in the Triangle have much more traffic, they have been expanded several times over the years. Personally, I don’t like the idea of tolls. They add overhead and generally can only be added to a few locations. Estimates show that the NCDOT expects to have half of the funding that it needs over the next 20 years. Most states have the same funding problem. Most people are paying around a dollar a day in gas tax. If a toll is set up where you have to pay a dollar to drive a road, your payment to the NCDOT will triple to 3 dollars a day. I know that this is a very unpopular idea, but I think the best solution is to double the gas tax. That way we won’t have to worry about tolls, and frankly, it will only cost most of

  • methinks Jan 16, 2007

    Why is everyone so intent on putting Tolls on I95? Is I95 the only interstate highway in NC? Does no one drive on 40, 85, 77, etc. in other parts of the state? I95 was one of the FIRST interstate in NC and it is the LAST interstate to get any maintenance or upgrading. If you calculate the length of alsphalt, concrete, etc used on I95 compared to 40, 85, etc. I95 is the shortest interstate in the state. I85 has more traffic, more congestions, goes through more counties, and runs a total of 233 miles through NC. OH, wait, I40 has a total of 412 miles. Toll that.