Local News

New Part Of Interstate 540 Set To Open Soon

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RALEIGH — Major help is on the way for the Triangle's crowded roads. Another segment of Raleigh's outer beltline will open by Monday possibly as early as this Friday.

Interstate 540 will now stretch all the way to Leesville Road. The section of the Outer Loop should ease traffic on many other crowded roads.

It cost taxpayers $19 million. But, if it helps ease traffic jams on North Raleigh's overburdened connector roads, Javita Henderson thinks the latest section of I-540 is worth every cent.

"I live right down off of Strickland Road, and we get a lot of traffic through there," Henderson said. "I'm hoping it will cut down on some of the traffic coming out of there, because it takes us awhile in the mornings to get out."

For people who gets stuck every day on roads like Westgate Drive and Highway 70, theDepartment of Transportationsays this road is for you. It will give many people in these neighborhoods a direct route from north Raleigh to RTP."

Crews started work in November 1996 on the three-mile section of the outer loop from Highway 70 to Leesville Road. That is an average of about a mile a year.

When connected to the completed section from I-40 to Highway 70, the result is a continuous highway from Leesville Road to I-40. Crews are working on the finishing touches.

"We have a lot of clean-up we still need to do," said Mark Craig, resident engineer. "We have some stripping we need to get down."

"We have a lot of people who need to come out and review the signs and things of that nature," Craig said. "We're just trying to clean up and get the road open to traffic just as soon as we can."

The new section of I-540 will not solve all of North Raleigh's traffic troubles. But, the DOT says it is a step in the right direction.

Crews are currently concentrating on the next section of I-540 from Leesville Road to Creedmoor Road. That section should be ready for traffic in about a year.