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New Stretch Of I-540 May Open This Fall

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — It's seven miles that will change the way many people drive across the Triangle. The newest section of Interstate 540 -- from Capital Boulevard to Highway 64 in Knightdale -- is starting to look like a highway.

In just a few hours, workers poured tons of concrete, forming a six-lane bridge near Triangle Towne Center. The bridge will be a key interchange on the newest section of I-540. The Department of Transportation said it's is a good example of how things are going on the Triangle's most expensive new stretch of road.

The $68 million project is finally starting to look like an interstate highway. Officials are now ready to talk about a completion.

"Certainly October or November is not out of the question if everything goes right, and that's primarily based on weather," said DOT engineer Bob Shultes. "If we have another dry spell, I think it's reasonable to say we could meet that date."

The original completion date was April of this year. However, as recently as last week, some DOT engineers were saying it could be 2007 before the highway is ready.

Now the plan is to concentrate on getting the road surface finished, and postpone extras like roadside landscaping. That makes engineers confident that I-540 will be finished this year.

After years of work, some sections of the road are almost ready to go. But some have a long way to go. Drivers along the area were mixed about whether the project would actually be ready to open this fall.

DOT engineers stressed that bad weather could delay things. Either way, they're confident I-540 will be ready before the end of the year.


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