Local News

New Stretch Of Outer Loop Opens

Posted June 29, 2001 12:56 p.m. EDT

— The newest part of I-540, running from from Creedmoor Road to Falls of Neuse, has opened. The 4.3 mile addition will create a more direct route to RTP and RDU for North Raleigh commuters. It is the longest stretch of the outer loop to open at one time.

The Department of Transportation hopes it will ease traffic jams on two-lane Strickland Road.

Two new interchanges will open -- one at the newly-widened Six Forks Road, where instead of the traditional diamond design, with a traffic signal at each end of the highway crossing, workers built a wider bridge that funnels traffic through one signal at the center of the bridge.

It is supposed to handle heavy traffic more effectively. The other interchange is at the end of the new section at Falls of Neuse Road, where that road will be going from two lanes to five.

DOT says there might also be a reversal of rush-hour traffic patterns on Six Forks and Falls of the Neuse. That is because morning commuters will likely now go north to reach the new highway instead of their current trip south to the Beltline.

The $20.4 million segment is opening about six months behind schedule, because of weather problems and subcontractor delays.

The new segment extends the Outer Loop to 16 miles, almost a quarter of the eventual length. It also means even more residential and related development for that part of Wake County.

Next up on the $1.2 billion Outer Loop is an almost 4-mile stretch going from Falls of Neuse to Capitol Blvd. That opening target date is next summer, making it easier for commuters to reach the under-construction Triangle Town Center.

The entire Outer Loop is not expected to be completed for another 24 years or so. Future sections include from Capitol to U.S. 64 near Knightdale in 2005, and then to Hwy 55 near Morrisville in 2006. Way down the road is a 12-mile stretch from Morrisville south to Holly Springs, with work set to start there in 2008.