N.C. 540 Opens to Eager Drivers

Posted July 14, 2007
Updated July 16, 2007

The wait is finally over. The new stretch of N.C. 540 officially opened to drivers Saturday afternoon. Jennifer Pierce and her family were the sixth to drive on the pristine pavement.

“We’ve been in Apex for about a year, and every time we pass it’s like, when are they going to finish it?” Pierce said.

Pierce and others lined up and waited for the road to open. At 4:30 p.m., Department of Transportation crews moved the barrels, activated traffic lights and gave the all-clear.

“I think as far as commuting, it will be great,” said driver Sherry Cochran.

The new N.C. 540 stretches 4.5 miles from I-40 at the Wake/Durham County line to Highway 55. For an estimated 100,000 commuters, especially those going to Research Triangle Park, this small stretch is a big deal.

It was designed to take the wait out of the week-day drive. Crews began working on it in February 2004. Three years and $102 million later, it's done.

“It’s been a long three years for this project, and we’re happy to see it open and hoping the public is going to be happy with it, too,” said DOT official David Byrd.


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  • turnpike420 Jul 16, 2007 please sign the online petition and help stop the NCTA from putting tolls on 540!

  • london12 Jul 16, 2007

    The first morning rush is'd it go?

  • wayne1961 Jul 15, 2007

    Hi Nancy -

    The recently opened stretch is on page 36, which lists an opened by 2008 time frame. The dates listed the Capital Area MPO's Long Range Transportation plan are "open by" dates and not actual dates in order to do an air quality analysis on their transportation plan (a federal requirement for them). So since it was opened by 2008 it is correct, according to their table.

    The 2020 "open by" dates on the plan(which would open sometime between 2011 and 2020) are actually what most people call Western Wake between NC 55 near Morrisville and NC 55 Bypass near Holly Springs. That's what I think you saw on the chart.

  • seeingthru Jul 15, 2007

    eager drivers!! more like speeding drivers on that road

  • Nancy Jul 15, 2007

    Transp. Eng - looking at that chart on the pdf file, it also states that the recently opened stretch was on the 2020 date timeframe? Seems the data is out of date?

  • Is it Friday yet Jul 15, 2007

    Even slower when I am actually posting to the thread!

  • momofthreeinFV Jul 15, 2007

    You know it is a slow weekend for the news when they have got to talk about a new part of 540 opening.

  • wayne1961 Jul 15, 2007

    Hi Nancy -

    "Est. Completion Date: Northern Wake County: - I-40 to NC-55 - July 14, 2007 - Contact Us Southern & Eastern Wake County - 2013+ Western Wake County"

    Actually the 2013+ is sort of misleading. The "2013+" means beyond the year 2013, which is the last year in the Transportation IMprovement Program, which is NCDOT's funding program document.

    Search for project R-2721, you'll see that construction is unfunded.

    The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's Long Range Transportation Plan has it as a project that should be built by 2030.
    Scroll down to the table on page 40.

    As I mentioned earlier, don't look for any dirt to be moved for southern Wake anytime soon.

  • lolly Jul 15, 2007

    Not to mention that City of Raleigh is saying we are running out of water at the same time they are throwing building permits out the window like confetti.

  • lolly Jul 15, 2007

    Yeah, they are money mad. And nothing seems to get any better. Teachers are not happy. Roads fall apart. Schools jam packed. They got the lottery and Wake gets 20 million? Wake can spend that much just over paying on one piece of land. sigh.