After lengthy delays, project to complete NC-540 loop breaks ground
Posted November 13, 2019 5:10 p.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2019 6:16 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Officials from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the N.C. Turnpike Authority broke ground Wednesday on the ‘Complete 540 Project,’ one of the state's largest transportation projects.
A section of the roadway will extend the Triangle Expressway from the N.C. 55 Bypass in Apex to U.S. Highway 64 in Knightdale, completing the Interstate 540 outer loop around the Raleigh area.
State and local leaders said the project is necessary to keep up with travel demands in the region.
“Expanding 540 will be a real plus for the community,” said Sarah Quinlan, who lives in Raleigh. “Traveling throughout the Triangle was a headache when 540 didn’t exist.”
“No one thought anyone would use this road now being expanded," Quinlan said. "It’s expected to span through seven cities, stretch 28 miles, and extend the Triangle Expressway from NC-55 Bypass to US 64 in Knightdale.”
“This is the kind of project we need to really meet the travel demands,” said James Trogdon, secretary of the state DOT.
Trogdon says the DOT had to take rapid growth in the area into account when designing the ‘Complete 540 Project.’
“We’re building three lanes in each direction to handle 30 years of demand," Trogdon said. "So how fast will this region grow in the next 30 years? A large amount."
Quinlan says the roadway expansion will bring additional benefits to region.
“This will really add to economic development here in the Triangle region," Quinlan said. "The more we can connect cities, the better off we all are."
The project comes with a price tag of more than $2 billion, which will be paid for from toll revenue and a loan from the federal government.
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2023. Another phase is expected to be completed by 2029.