Moving 540 Forward
May 23, 2012 - 9:50pm
The completion of the 540 Outer Loop beltway is one of the most critical regional priorities of the Regional Transportation Alliance business leadership group.
Fortunately, the entire northern portion of the Outer Loop is now open to traffic, the western portion is open to US 64 in the Apex and Cary area, and the remainder of the western portion to US 1 and the NC 55/Holly Springs bypass will open by January 2013.
However, the study of the southern and eastern portions of the proposed freeway has been delayed since March 2011 due to a variety of environmental and subsequent legislative factors.
RTA engagement and recent activity
For the past several months, the RTA has engaged our local, regional, state and national partners in a dialogue of how to advance the project, culminating with a January 2012 report from the Turnpike Authority on the status of alternatives.
In March 2012, the Federal Highway Administration gave the Turnpike Authority a 60-day deadline to demonstrate actions that would meet federal engineering and environmental analysis requirements or it would remove its “Notice of Intent” to complete the environmental study of the corridor.
With the completion of our beltway in jeopardy and with a clear deadline for action, RTA immediately engaged an environmental policy firm out of Washington, DC to provide guidance on a way forward. Dawson and Associates has provided that guidance, including multiple potential alternative corridors for the proposed turnpike freeway that would meet federal study requirements (see NCTA draft map of suggested corridors here). We have shared that guidance with the Turnpike Authority, and the Turnpike Authority has corresponded directly with the Federal Highway Administration, asking that the project be allowed to continue.
The RTA will continue to remain engaged with this vital project. We have to find a way to keep 540 moving forward.
Raleigh News&Observer (1, 2, 3).
Garner News (1).
Thank you to regional partners
The RTA thanks the Town of Garner and the EDGE4/Wake County Economic Development program for serving as funding partners for the engagement of the Dawson & Associates environmental policy firm. We also thank the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) for again affirming their continued support for the construction of the Raleigh / Wake Outer Loop.
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