Wake County Commission wants 'Orange Route' for 540 loop

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- For months, people have debated the "orange", "red", and "purple" routes for the 540 loop when it's finally finished.

Click here for a map of the routes (.pdf)

For 20 years, North Carolina has been planning on connecting the ends of 540 into one big loop with one last section that will connect Holly Springs, Garner, and Fuquay-Varina.

Those towns know which route they want. They say the orange route would displace fewer homeowners and businesses than the other choices.

Tuesday, the towns got the support of the Wake County Commission, which said it also favors that route.

"The reason that we support the orange route is because our community supports the orange route. So we want to do what our communities want us to do. As a result of this, hopefully we can move the process forward and start moving forward, totally, on the project," said Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson.

While the Wake vote is not binding on the state, local officials like Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said it all helps.

"If every town, if the county commissioners, if our town people and in Fuquay and in Garner all say orange, I don't see how they can turn that down," he offered.

But the problem for the orange route has been environmental. The endangered dwarf wedge mussel has been found in a stream along that route. That meant the state basically had to start over to get federal money on the project.

We're told a critical study -- an environmental impact statement -- is within weeks of being finished. The DOT is not saying what that report will contain.

For more info from the NC DOT on the project, head to: http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/complete540/

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