Project Overview and Purpose
The proposed "Complete 540" project, also known as the Southeast Extension, would extend the Triangle Expressway from the N.C. 55 Bypass in Apex to U.S. 64/U.S. 264 (I-495) in Knightdale, completing the 540 Outer Loop around the greater Raleigh area.
Transportation, social and economic demands and mobility considerations are the basis for additional transportation infrastructure in southeastern Wake County. The "Complete 540" project would link the towns of Apex, Cary, Clayton, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs and Raleigh. In addition to connecting several towns and cities, the project is anticipated to ease congestion on area roadways, including I-440, I-40, N.C. 42, N.C. 55 and Ten Ten Road.
Complete 540 consists of three separate NCDOT projects (R-2721, R-2828 and R-2829) that are combined for the current planning and environmental study. Construction will likely be completed in phases that correspond to these three individual projects. Depending on available funding, each project will likely have different construction time lines.
The cost of the project is currently estimated to be approximately $2.2 billion based on the anticipated year of construction for each section of the overall project. This cost estimate will be refined as the project development process progresses. It is anticipated that the project would be funded in phases:
- R-2721 – N.C. 55 Bypass to U.S. 401
- R-2828 – U.S. 401 to I-40
- R-2829 – I-40 to U.S. 64/264 (I-495)
Latest News and Updates
June 2018: The N.C. Turnpike Authority received the Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration, signifying final federal approval of the project’s route. After years of studying various route alternatives, the Record of Decision confirms the orange-green-mint-green route as the selected alternative.
February 2018: The N.C. Turnpike Authority and the N.C. Department of Transportation held a series of public meetings to provide information on the project, share the preliminary design of the project and gather feedback from the public.
December 2017: The Federal Highway Administration approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement that was prepared for the Complete 540 project.
Share Your Feedback
NCDOT wants to hear your thoughts about the Complete 540 project using NCDOT's interactive public engagement tool.
The N.C. Turnpike Authority and the N.C. Department of Transportation held a series of public meetings in February 2018 to provide information on the project, share the preliminary design of the project and gather feedback from the public. The materials below were available at the meeting for public review.
Public Meeting Materials
| Complete 540 Project Schedule* |
|Design public hearing||February 2018|
|Record of Decision published||June 2018|
|Design-build contract awarded for U.S. 401 to I-40 (R-2828)||Fall/winter 2018|
|Two design-build contracts awarded for R-2721 |
(N.C. 55 Bypass to U.S. 401)
|Design-build contract awarded for I-40 to U.S. 64/264 (I-495)|
|*Subject to change. |
- Currently, no recent news releases.
||The N.C. Turnpike Authority received the Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration, signifying final federal approval of the project’s route.
||The N.C. Turnpike Authority and the N.C. Department of Transportation held a series of public meetings to provide information on the project, share the preliminary design of the project and gather feedback from the public.
||NCDOT selected Detailed Study Alternative 2 (orange-green-mint-green) as the preferred alternative for the project.
||NCDOT recommended Detailed Study Alternative 2 as the Preferred Alternative for the project.
||NCDOT held public meetings and a public hearing regarding the Draft EIS.
||The Complete 540 Draft Environmental Impact Statement was published and followed by a public comment period (Nov. 9 until Jan. 8).
||Various engineering, planning, and environmental studies were undertaken and completed for the Detailed Study Alternatives.
||NCDOT announced the alternatives that will be studied in detail in the DEIS. These alternatives are known as the Detailed Study Alternatives.
||NCDOT presented all alternatives to the public to review and comment on during a series of public meetings. Based on the comments received from the public, state and federal agencies, and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, NCDOT decided to study all of the recommended alternatives in detail. These alternatives are known as the Detailed Study Alternatives (DSAs) and are shown on the Detailed Study Alternatives Map (August 2014).
||NCDOT published Draft Alternatives Development and Analysis Report, including list of recommended Detailed Study Alternatives.
||NCDOT resumed all environmental study activities for the project.
||North Carolina General Assembly enacted House Bill 10 (Session Law 2013-94) and House Bill 817 (Session Law 2013-183) to remove previous restrictions on studying the Red Corridor. These bills were signed into law, allowing NCDOT to resume the environmental study.
||FHWA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a letter requiring full evaluation of the Red Corridor. This evaluation is required for the project to remain eligible for federal funds and to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The project could not be constructed without meeting these requirements.
||North Carolina Session Law 2011-7 restricted NCDOT’s ability to evaluate the Red Corridor.
||Environmental study began.
||In accordance with the NC Transportation Corridor Official Map Act, NCDOT established a protected corridor for the portion of 540 between N.C. 55 Bypass in Apex and I-40 near the Johnston/Wake County line. A protected corridor preserves the location of a new road from encroaching development.
Project Hotline: (800) 554-7849
1548 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1548
Resources for Local Property Owners
Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.