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I-540 getting a new name

I read the headline, "New bit of Outer Loop renamed," in the paper this morning and thought nothing of it -- they were simply giving the western stretch of 540 a secondary name after some legislator or governor that had something to do with building the road. Right?

Well...
Days before the next stretch of Raleigh's Outer Loop is due to open for traffic, the state Department of Transportation is scrambling to give it a new name.

Workers this week began replacing red-and-blue Interstate 540 shields with black-and-white diamond signs to mark the new 4.5-mile stretch of six-lane freeway as N.C. 540.

"It's going to look like an interstate, and it's going to drive like an interstate, but it's just going to be called N.C. 540," said Kevin Lacy, state traffic engineer.

The 540 identity crisis stems from a state Turnpike Authority plan to build the 18-mile Triangle Expressway through RTP and western Wake County. The toll road would overlap with part of the new 540.

After gaining federal approval in January for the future switch to a toll road, turnpike officials lobbied the DOT not to label the new stretch of 540 an interstate. Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett, who doubles as turnpike board chairman, settled on the N.C. 540 name in May.

"The final decision was to maintain the 540 designation for continuity ... so drivers would not all of a sudden lose the road they were driving on completely," Lacy said, adding that "we are also, believe it or not, trying to minimize the confusion. We didn't want I-540 to end at some point for no reason."

Earth to Lacy: I-540 is going to end at some point (I-40, specifically) for no reason. Not only does this violate North Carolina's rules against duplicating route numbers -- although I guess I-/US 74 and I-/NC 73 have already destroyed those rules -- but there's long been a precedent established in other states where toll roads can have Interstate numbers as long as no federal money was used to build them. Not to mention, how much money are they going to waste on now-useless I-540 shields on the new section of the freeway?

This thing stinks on so many different levels that it could only happen in North Carolina.

Comments

Adam said…
Or could it be a hedge against the tolled Triangle Expressway not being built at all? If it is not built as a toll road that road isn't going any further for a decade or two,what's the point of calling it Future I-540 then?

Either way it doesn't make sense and just another feather in the NCDOT Dunce Cap.
Anonymous said…
The only name that needs to be on I-540 is VOID. The reason I moved to Apex was to get away from North Raleigh life, to be in the country. Now with this monster trying to come through all of that is going to be a thing of the past.

Is there not enough retail and strip malls in Wake county? All I hear is talk about how great it will be for people living in Holly Springs and how much growth will result. Those people need to move closer to RTP and not expect Apex residents to lose their homes to bail them out of there commute. I am being forced to move because I don't want to live beside a 6 lane interstate in Scotts Mill.

No one talks about people like us who do not want the road at all...
And yes we all knew it was coming but only now do we all see the massive scope of this that was unknown 10 years ago when the neighborhood was being built. Kill the project!!!! Its not fair to those who live in Apex and have no need for it.

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