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I-540 to be Extended South into NC’s Wake County

Mon January 12, 2004 - National Edition

RALEIGH, NC (AP) Interstate 540 will be extended south from I-40 through Research Triangle Park (RTP) to N.C. 55 in western Wake County under terms of a highway contract approved by the state Board of Transportation.

The 5-mi. (8 km) stretch of I-540, which will include an interchange at N.C. 54, is expected to open in 2007. A 9-mi. (14.5 km) segment of the six-lane expressway, now under construction from Triangle Town Boulevard to U.S. 64 Bypass, is expected to be finished by late 2006.

Lane Construction Corp. of Meriden, CT, received a $68.4 million contract Jan. 8 for a three-mile segment from I-40 south into RTP. But contractors seeking to build the remaining 2-mi. (3.2 km) portion offered bids that exceeded North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) cost estimates, so the board said it would consider new bids in March.

Steve D. DeWitt, NCDOT construction director, said the two-month delay should not affect the completion target date of August 2007. When that job is finished, Raleigh’s Outer Loop will arc more than halfway around the northern half of Wake County, from N.C. 55 in the west to the U.S. 64 Bypass in the east.

The 64 Bypass, also a six-lane expressway, is expected to open to traffic by late 2004 or early 2005.

No further work on the Outer Loop is scheduled before 2008, when plans call for starting work on an extension south from N.C. 55 to U.S. 1 in southwest Wake.