NC DOT seeks public opinion on 540 toll road in southeast Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation wants your opinion on the proposed I-540 connector.

The project would complete the 540 loop, which currently ends in Raleigh near Knightdale at one end and between Apex and Cary at the other end. Completing the corridor would help connect towns in southeast Raleigh and help ease traffic congestion in other parts of the greater Raleigh area, officials say.

The new 30-mile stretch of 540 would include toll roads. NCDOT says the project will be completed in three phases of constructions, but they first have to decide on what route to use to complete the loop.

Of all the possible routes, there are a few that have generated concern from members of the community. Some proposed routes go through or around popular neighborhoods and some residents are concerned it would decrease property value or even displace some homes.

DOT leaders say the orange route has received the most positive comments, but the two alternatives to the orange, the red and the purple/blue/lilac, are still being considered.

“There are some alternatives that tend to impact more neighborhoods and people so of course people are concerned about the impact it would have on their homes and businesses,” said Connect 540 Project Manager Eric Midkiff,  “But that’s what these public forums are for, to help NCDOT make a decision on the project.”

Garner, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and the Wake County Commissioners have all signed resolutions asking DOT to accept the orange route. Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears tells WNCN the orange route has significantly less of an impact than it’s alternative routes.

“In my mind I think this is a no-brainer,” said Sears. “There are a few homes that would be affected by the orange route, but they knew it and they’ve known it for 20-some years. The number of homes displaced by the other options is extremely higher.”

NCDOT officials say they will consider public input as well as environmental impact the construction would have on nearby neighborhoods. They hope to pick a route in the spring of 2016 with construction beginning in 2018.

The NCDOT will hold two other meetings this week, one on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Holly Springs High School’s Cafeteria. The other meeting is set for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Wake Tech Community College’s Students Services Building.

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