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Construction Continues On Several I-540 Projects

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — The heavy equipment should be in full swing in August on the next leg of Interstate 540.

The section will run nine miles from Capital Boulevard to Highway 64. Engineers say that section should be finished by 2006. The completion will link the Knightdale side of [Highway] 64 with I-40, U.S. 1 and U.S. 401.

"The Outer Loop will then be accessible from any of those routes and again, we feel like it will ease a lot of the congestion on [Highway] 64," DOT engineer Tracy Parrott said.

The Knightdale Connector is also scheduled to open in 2006. It will link I-540 with the Highway 64 bypass. For many years, there was no plan to connect 540 with the bypass, but officials decided to change their minds. They said they are building the road connector to eliminate any possibility of further overloading Highway 64.

"We'll be able to outlet I-540 onto the 64 bypass rather than onto existing 64," Parrott said.

Crews also plant to link I-40 with Highway 55. Road planners say this will help ease heavy I-540 traffic merging with even heavier I-40 traffic. The completion date for that project is slated for 2006.

Planners say opening everthing at once should result in fewer bottlenecks.

"With the hope of letting these projects in this manner and having the construction schedules the same, we can accomplish that and go from major route to major route," Parrott said.

Not everyone is excited about the I-540 plan. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said that the money would be better spent on widening existing thoroughfares.


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