New Section Of Raleigh's Outer Loop Now Open
Posted August 13, 2002 2:47 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — After three years and about five extra months, the latest section of Raleigh's Outer Loop opened to traffic Tuesday.
Interstate 540 from Falls of Neuse Road to Capital Boulevard officially opened after a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning.
The 2.1 mile section of highway is expected to provide relief to areas around Falls of Neuse Road where, until now, I-540 ended. Many drivers had to drive through subdivisions to reach the I-540 interchange at Falls of Neuse.
Department of Transportation engineers said there is still some unfinished utility work to the north of the Falls Bridge over I-540. That means that section of road will be squeezed to two lanes at least through Labor Day.
The DOT asks drivers to be careful because workers will still be working along the highway.
The section of highway opened just 24 hours before the opening of the 1.3 million square foot
Triangle Town Center
on Capital Boulevard.
The mall expects some traffic delays Wednesday as shoppers get used to the new streets, the I-540 interchanges and the congestion that already plagues Capital Boulevard.
The DOT said the new construction can accommodate the traffic.
Crews started work on the $70 million section of I-540 in November 1999,
Construction on the next segment of I-540 to U.S. 401 and U.S. 64 in Knightdale is scheduled to start at the end of this year. The DOT said the project is expected to be finished by early 2005.
From there, DOT crews will take I-540 south from Interstate 40, eventually down to Apex. The southern portion, making a full loop, probably will not happen before 2025.