Settlement clears path for construction of 'Complete 540' project

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- It's a green light for the Triangle Expressway southeast extension.

The project, also known as Complete 540, raised some environmental concerns but a settlement that includes certain protections has been reached.

Several environmental groups had challenged the plans for the multi-billion dollar expressway, with a lawsuit claiming it would threaten endangered species and hurt air quality.

After months of talks the NCDOT announced the suit was dropped but on several conditions.

The NCDOT must spend millions on environmental advocacy and conservation efforts, including using low emission equipment for construction and buying into the Wake County Open Space Program.

It's a win for air quality, water quality, stream systems, threatened and endangered species in the area. It's a win for the Wake County Open Space Program, it's a win for the contractors, designers, subcontractors, material providers," said Rodger Rochelle of the NC Turnpike Authority.

But most importantly, it's a big win for drivers.

"Saving in commute times, faster travel speeds on virtually the entire regional network in the southern part of Wake County," Rochelle said.

There are no more roadblocks for the project, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen that quickly. All phases are set to be complete in late 2027.
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