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Wake County Towns Want Outer Loop Plans To Come Full Circle

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APEX, N.C. — The mayors of Raleigh and Cary and some Triangle transportation planners are talking about the possibility of delaying or eliminating some sections of the Outer Loop and spending money on connector roads instead. Leaders in several Wake County towns said they want to be heard, and they want Interstate 540 to come full circle.

In 1990, 5,000 people lived in Apex. Now, more than 20,000 people call the "Peak of Good Living" home. But many of Apex's residents are usually stuck in traffic.

The Capital Area Metro Planning Organization has recommended eliminating the southern segment of I-540 -- a proposed change that does not sit well with many people in Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina.

Wade Baker, a fifth-generation Apex native, runs the Salem Street Soda Shoppe. He has heard the talk of leaving out the southern segment of I-540, and he does not like it.

"It'll make it to where people that live here in town can at least get back and forth to work easier. That's the main thing. I look at it more than anything else," he said. "My wife gets in that RTP [traffic], going up to RTP on Highway 55 every day, and it gets longer and longer."

If all goes as originally planned, I-540 will pass through Apex just outside the downtown business district. The mayor, the town manager and the planning director said Apex has planned for the loop for 20 years.

"It's got to be done to move traffic all around Wake County. There can't be a portion that's not built. A loop is a circle," said Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly.

Transportation planners said they will meet next month to discuss the future of I-540. Public hearings will be held before there is any final decision on the Outer Loop.