Money approved to extend I-540

RALEIGH U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the DOT has signed off on a $386 million loan for the project.

It consists of the new Triangle Parkway extending 3.4 miles north from NC 540; the existing North Wake Freeway extending NC 540 south for 2.8 miles; and the new Western Wake Freeway continuing NC 540 south for an additional 12.6 miles.

Hood said the three sections will be contiguous and improve access to I-40 and downtown Raleigh.

"This project will go a long way toward serving the travel needs of commuters in key educational and employment centers in this important region," Hood offered in a statement sent to the media.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) will receive the loan under the Department's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program. To pay back the money, NCTA will toll the new highway. It's also expected to sell more than $600 million in bonds to complete the project's total cost of more than $1.1 billion.

The White House news release did not include a timetable for when the work would begin, or how long it would take to complete.

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