Traffic

N.C. 540 Opens to Eager Drivers

Posted July 14, 2007 6:53 p.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2007 5:23 a.m. EDT

The wait is finally over. The new stretch of N.C. 540 officially opened to drivers Saturday afternoon. Jennifer Pierce and her family were the sixth to drive on the pristine pavement.

“We’ve been in Apex for about a year, and every time we pass it’s like, when are they going to finish it?” Pierce said.

Pierce and others lined up and waited for the road to open. At 4:30 p.m., Department of Transportation crews moved the barrels, activated traffic lights and gave the all-clear.

“I think as far as commuting, it will be great,” said driver Sherry Cochran.

The new N.C. 540 stretches 4.5 miles from I-40 at the Wake/Durham County line to Highway 55. For an estimated 100,000 commuters, especially those going to Research Triangle Park, this small stretch is a big deal.

It was designed to take the wait out of the week-day drive. Crews began working on it in February 2004. Three years and $102 million later, it's done.

“It’s been a long three years for this project, and we’re happy to see it open and hoping the public is going to be happy with it, too,” said DOT official David Byrd.