New I-540 Stretch to Bring Relief for Some RTP Commuters

Posted June 8, 2007 7:23 p.m. EDT

A new stretch of Interstate 540 expected to ease congestion could come earlier than expected for some of the 40,000 daily commuters bound for Research Triangle Park.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said the 4.5-mile stretch of highway, which runs from Interstate 40 at the Wake-Durham county line to N.C. Highway 55 in RTP, could open to traffic by the end of June or early July -- about a month earlier than the scheduled Aug. 1 completion date.

The new roadway should help ease some bottlenecking along I-40 and the related congestion on I-40, as well as traffic on U.S. Highway 1/64 through Cary, DOT engineer Phillip Johnson said, with three new exits into RTP, N.C. Highway 54, Davis Drive and N.C. Highway 55.

"Obviously, it's going to be a big help with those traffic problems. There's no doubt about that," he said.

As part of the new construction, crews will shut down lanes of existing I-540 near Aviation Parkway for the weekend. Detour signs, however, are posted.