Big crowd at Complete 540 open house to see the new 'gateway' to Holly Springs

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WTVD) -- It was the first in-person open house about the Complete 540 project since before the pandemic. While construction never ceased, anticipation has only grown about the eventual completion of this end of Raleigh's Outer Loop. The Q&A United Methodist Church had residents from Garner, Fuquay-Varina and here in Holly Springs clamoring for information.

"The part going towards the airport, it'll be a quicker route. And going to RTP will be a quicker route," said Apex resident Raj Selvaraj, excited about the convenience.

Holly Springs Mayor Sean Mayefskie was on hand alongside engineers from NCDOT and town staff. Mayefskie talked up the importance of the massive 540 interchange that's going up now at Kildaire Farm Road and the soon-to-be widened and modernized Holly Springs Road.

"New restaurants, new shops, new commercial -- it's a big deal," the mayor said. "You're going to hear it a lot. This is going to be our new gateway. This is gonna be a big part of the puzzle, a new piece to the town."

More than 100 residents turned out for the open house about the ongoing effort to connect 540 at Highway 55 to Interstate 40 near U.S. 70 in Clayton. Construction began in 2019.

"We're very pleased with the turnout. We're hearing a lot of questions about progress; when are we going to be finished," said Dennis Jernigan, deputy chief engineer at NC DOT Turnpike Authority.

Brittany McClain had a separate question.

"My question is what are y'all doing for the people that are potentially gonna be displaced? Because we built this community," asked the seventh-generation Holly Springs native. "My mom was born on the road I'm talking about. And so I just want to get some answers and a clear vision of what they're trying to do for us."

Back at the maps lining every window in the church auxiliary room, Jernigan and his team were there to help to put fears like McClain's to rest.

"So, anybody whose property was going to be affected is already aware of that. And that process is well behind us," Jernigan said of the years-long process to acquire and purchase private properties affected by the construction.

This weekend, a major stretch of Holly Springs Road will be shut down by the NCDOT so crews can work on the realignment of Kildaire Farm Road.

Construction on this phase of the Complete 540 project is expected to wrap up by spring 2024.
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