Accelerating 540 to I-40 has been the regional business community’s number one transportation priority since 2016. In January 2020, the RTA business coalition will celebrate the start of construction for the 540 extension from NC 55 to I-40 in southeastern Wake County. 

The accelerated extension and completion of the 540/Triangle Expressway, the most advanced turnpike in America, will provide free-flow mobility and create vital connections across the Triangle, including direct freeway linkages among U.S. 1/64, I-40, I-42 (U.S. 70 Clayton bypass), I-87 (U.S. 64-264 bypass), and I-540.

The extension of 540 will complete a primary backbone of our regional freeway system, improving connectivity, reducing peak and off-peak travel times, alleviating traffic congestion, and creating a resilient regional transportation network for commuting, transit, commerce, visitors, and more.

More information:
– RTA one-page overview of 540 benefits (Dec 5 ’18)
RTA blog: Let’s accelerate 540, part 1 – Why dedicated user fees make sense (Feb 13 ’18)
RTA blog: Let’s accelerate 540, part 2 – A new freeway will bring us together (Feb 21 ’18)
RTA blog: Let’s accelerate 540, part 3 – Where autonomy meets opportunity (Apr 9 ’18)

Show your support for Complete 540:

Project details:

Recent RTA efforts on Complete 540

Successes of RTA and Partners

  • Wake County Mayors Association unanimously supports the implementation and completion of the 540 extension, signed March 2018
  • Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board endorses the immediate funding and construction of 540, signed March 2018
  • NCDOT announces accelerated construction schedule for Complete 540 in Jan. 2018, with an accelerated fall/winter 2018 award for the first construction contract
  • The federal government signed the final environmental impact statement for the entire proposed 540 corridor Dec. 2017 – eight months ahead of schedule
  • Proposed segment from US 401 to I-40/Clayton bypass accelerated to 2020 in draft TIP released in 2016
  • Successful restart of the study to complete 540 in southeast Wake County in summer 2013
  • Successful repeal of state legislation that prevented the 540 Southeast Extension turnpike from moving forward
  • Successful repeal of CAMPO resolution that prevented the 540 Southeast Extension turnpike from moving forward
  • RTA hired national policy consultant in 2012 to identify possible alternative corridors and study improvements for 540/Triangle Expressway extension

History of RTA engagement on 540/Triangle Expressway

  • RTA advocated for the acceleration of the Western Wake Freeway portion of the Triangle Expressway from 2005 to its completion in January 2013. View an early RTA position paper here.
  • North Carolina’s first modern turnpike, The Triangle Expressway, opened from I-40 in Durham County South to NC 55/Holly Springs Bypass in 2012
  • Speed limit increase from 65 MPH to 70 MPH on all open sections of Raleigh Outer Loop as a result of RTA request

> Learn more about RTA business leadership on 540