Local News

DOT Board Leaves I-540 Extension Out Of $11 Billion Plan

Posted July 7, 2005 6:59 a.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Transportation Board approved $11 billion in road construction Thursday, but many in the Triangle say they have been left out of the state's seven-year highway plan.

The town of Holly Springs is growing quickly. In 1990, about 1,000 people lived in the town; now, there are 15,000 people living there -- and the town is growing at about two families a day.

Many eagerly anticipated the DOT extending Interstate 540 across western Wake County, which would give Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Cary and Holly Springs a highway hookup to the rest of the Triangle.

But the DOT committed no money to the I-540 extension in its plan. Now, it will be 2012 before construction could begin.

"I find it totally unacceptable," said Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears.

Sears said he was assured the money was there to get the next leg of I-540 under construction.

"We've gone through all the processes -- all the funding was there," he said. "Now, all of a sudden, it just kind of filters away into the clouds."

Nina Szlosberg, of the N.C. Transportation Board, said the Triangle lost $300 million in road funding that was spread to other parts of the states. She said the mayor, and many others, will just have to wait.

"I understand everybody's disappointment," Szlosberg said. "I'm disappointed. I think everybody's disappointed. Again, we took a big hit in our budget."

Several other road projects received no funding from the Board, including the east-end connector to link the Durham Freeway with Highway 70; widening and improving Glenwood Avenue from Duraleigh Road to Raleigh-Durham; and the realignment of Falls of the Neuse Road near the new Neuse River Bridge.