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New Section of I-540 Could Open by June

The new section from I-40 to Highway 55 promises relief to countless drivers across the Triangle. But eventually, it will come at a cost.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The newest section of I-540 could open as early as May, but more likely in June, according to the Department of Transportation.

The new section from I-40 to Highway 55 promises relief to numerous drivers across the Triangle. But eventually, it will come at a cost.

The state has approved one section of the new 540, from Highway 54 to Highway 55, for conversion to a toll road. It will be a free highway at first, but it could become pay-to-drive as early as 2011.

Driver Rich Colson said he is opposed to it.

“Once you start with a toll road there, who's to say where the next toll road's gonna be?” he said.

Right now, 540 ends at I-40 at the Wake/Durham County line causing daily bottlenecks in the area. The new stretch of 540 will let drivers go over I-40 and off into Research Triangle Park, giving them several options to get into the Park without getting stuck on I-40.

Driver Paul Raye said he is tired of the traffic where the road squeezes down at I-40.

“It's a two-lane road, but the right lane is always stopped about two miles back. There's people always cutting in, and it really gets irritating,” he said.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Kelly Hinchcliffe, Web Editor

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