Traffic

Relief Comes Saturday for RTP Commuters

Posted July 13, 2007

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— State Department of Transportation officials said Friday that N.C. 540 should be ready by Saturday afternoon and open for commuters in Monday morning's rush hour.

The $102 million roadway will run 4.5 miles from Interstate 40 at the Wake/Durham County line to Highway 55 in Research Triangle Park.

For years, RTP commuters have complained about the traffic bottleneck that occurs each morning when thousands of cars on Interstate 540 are forced to squeeze down to one lane to enter I-40.

"It's very frustrating, very frustrating. Hopefully, they'll have it all resolved very soon," said driver Karen Bigler.

N.C. 540 will give drivers three new exits – Highway 54, Davis Drive and Highway 55 – to access Research Triangle Park without having to get on I-40.

"Triangle-area motorists will now have better access to the Research Triangle Park and I-40 and can enjoy the increased mobility, safety and efficiency of the expanded highway," said Transportation Chief Deputy Secretary Dan DeVane.

"Obviously, it's going to be a big help with those traffic-jam problems. There's no doubt about that," said DOT engineer Phillip Johnson.

DOT crews have been working on the extension since February 2004. They said Saturday's opening comes three weeks ahead of schedule.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority asked the DOT not to call the new section an "interstate" because the commission hopes to open the proposed Triangle Expressway in a few years as a toll road. The toll road would overlap N.C. 540 between N.C. 54 and N.C. 55. There would be legal conflicts if access to a new interstate highway was restricted by tolls.

82 Comments

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  • Rabid_Wolf_2 Jul 14, 2007

    So when does the re paving begin?

  • sherrybastion Jul 14, 2007

    Will someone please tell me WHEN on Saturday is this road going to open? My husband and I tried to turn onto 540 from Hwy. 55 at 4:00 p.m. today and IT IS STILL NOT OPEN!!

  • smcallah Jul 14, 2007

    "why should I have to pay an additional TAX to drive the Southern portion when the Northern portion rides free on my tax dollars."

    Because you live in the same public society as everyone else. I pay for roads in all parts of NC, do I ever drive on all of them? No. You pay federal taxes too, right? Do you complain that you don't get to use some of the missiles and guns the gov't buys with money you paid? How about when your federal tax dollars pay for Interstates in Hawaii and Alaska, or any other place you never drive? It's ridiculous to complain about your taxes going for something you don't use, since that is where the majority of your tax dollars go, to things you have no control over or may never use yourself.

  • gopanthers Jul 14, 2007

    Nothing New - I live in the North and you live in the south and I loved your post. Very good as far as I'm concerned that is not fair to you and others in the south. If I lived in the south part I would be saying the same exact thing. It should be all or nothing with taxing and tolling of 540.

  • Mo Jul 14, 2007

    "Like I said before, there just aren't enough working people who pay substantial taxes in the southern part of the county to justify building anymore of this road for them."

    WHAT? Try looking at a recent aerial photograph or Wake County IMAPS and compare to North Raleigh. Not a great deal of difference and likely only another decade or so until built out. Also, went they finally finish the whole thing, all those folks in Johnson Co and south who have to go through Raleigh to get to RTP will loop south. That will remove alot of the bottleneck on I-440 south of Raleigh and I-40 btwn Raleigh and RTP.

  • Nothing New Jul 13, 2007

    I got an idea, let DOT and Toll Commision rename all of I-540 to NC-540. Then toll the whole thing so that they dont have to toll the Southern part. My taxes I have paid for over 20 years helped pay for the existing completed portions of I-540, why should I have to pay an additional TAX to drive the Southern portion when the Northern portion rides free on my tax dollars.

  • troywilson Jul 13, 2007

    If they add tolls. Which is slower? Waiting in line at a toll booth to drive no further than 4.5 miles or going down the bottleneck and on to I-40?

  • blindasabat Jul 13, 2007

    Hey KCFoxie....I think we should triple the tax on that Bio Fuels that u support!!!!! That would pay for the road..

  • blindasabat Jul 13, 2007

    Lindo and the rest of the NCToll hacks need new cars!!!!

  • doobedobedoodoo Jul 13, 2007

    Like I said before, there just aren't enough working people who pay substantial taxes in the southern part of the county to justify building anymore of this road for them. Enough of building 540! The traffic mess was in N. Raleigh/Wake Forest and Cary. That's taken care of now. I just don't want anymore cars on this road!

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