Detailed Study Alternatives Map
Detailed Study Alternatives Map

Detailed Study Alternatives Map

Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Development
  • County: Wake, Johnston
  • Type of Project: New toll freeway
  • STIP Number: R-2721, R-2828, R-2829

Complete 540

Description and Purpose

The proposed “Complete 540” project, also known as the Southeast Extension, would extend the Triangle Expressway from the N.C. 55 Bypass in Apex to the U.S. 64/U.S. 264 Bypass in Knightdale, completing the 540 Outer Loop around the greater Raleigh area.

Transportation, social and economic demands and mobility considerations are the basis for additional transportation infrastructure in southeastern Wake County. The “Complete 540” project would link the towns of Apex, Cary, Clayton, Garner, Fuquay Varina, Holly Springs and Raleigh. In addition to connecting several towns and cities, the project would also connect major roadways in southern Raleigh and ease congestion on I-440, I-40, N.C. 42, N.C. 55 and Ten Ten Road.

Complete 540 consists of three separate NCDOT projects (R-2721, R-2828, and R-2829) that are combined for the current planning and environmental study. Construction will likely be done in phases that correspond to these three individual projects. Depending on available funding, each project will likely have different construction time lines.


2014 Various engineering, planning, and environmental studies were undertaken and completed for the Detailed Study Alternatives.
December 2013 NCDOT announced the alternatives that will be studied in detail in the DEIS. These alternatives are known as the Detailed Study Alternatives.
October 2013 NCDOT presented all alternatives to the public to review and comment on during a series of public meetings. Based on the comments received from the public, state and federal agencies, and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, NCDOT decided to study all of the recommended alternatives in detail. These alternatives are known as the Detailed Study Alternatives (DSAs) and are shown on the Detailed Study Alternatives Map (August 2014).
September 2013 NCDOT published Draft Alternatives Development and Analysis Report, including list of recommended Detailed Study Alternatives.
July 2013 NCDOT resumed all environmental study activities for the project.
June 2013 North Carolina General Assembly enacted House Bill 10 (Session Law 2013-94) and House Bill 817 (Session Law 2013-183) to remove previous restrictions on studying the Red Corridor. Governor Pat McCrory signed these bills into law allowing NCDOT to resume the environmental study.
December 2012 FHWA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a letter requiring full evaluation of the Red Corridor. This evaluation is required for the project to remain eligible for federal funds and to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The project could not be constructed without meeting these requirements.
March 2011 North Carolina Session Law 2011-7 restricted NCDOT’s ability to evaluate the Red Corridor.
Late 2009 Environmental study began.
1996-1997 In accordance with the NC Transportation Corridor Official Map Act, NCDOT established a protected corridor for the portion of 540 between N.C. 55 Bypass in Apex and I-40 near the Johnston/Wake County line. A protected corridor preserves the location of a new road from encroaching development.

Latest News and Updates

The project team has completed all of the field work and most of the technical studies on the Detailed Study Alternatives. These studies form the basis of the analysis that is being summarized in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

NCDOT anticipates the Draft EIS will be available for distribution to the public in the summer of 2015. Although public comments and questions are always welcome, the best opportunity for the public to provide additional comments on the detailed studies will be during the review period for the Draft EIS, which will include public hearings, anticipated in the fall of 2015.

Once the review period is over, NCDOT anticipates selecting the final route location for 540 in the fall of 2015.

"Complete 540" Project Schedule*
Receive Approval of the Draft Environmental Impact StatementSummer 2015
Draft EIS Review Period and Hold Public HearingsEarly Fall 2015
Selection of the Preferred AlternativeLate Fall 2015
Approval of Final Environmental Impact StatementSpring 2016
Publication of the Record of DecisionSummer 2016
Complete Financial FeasibilitySpring 2017
Begin Right of Way AcquisitionSummer 2017
Begin Construction (R-2721) Spring 2018
*Subject to change based on the availability of project funding.

Estimated Cost

The cost of the project will be determined during the project development process. It is anticipated that the project would be funded in phases:

  • R-2721 – N.C. 55 Bypass to U.S. 401
  • R-2828 – U.S. 401 to I-40
  • R-2829 – I-40 to U.S. 64/264 Bypass (I-495)

News Releases

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Contact Information

Call our project hotline: (800) 554-7849

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Raleigh, NC 27699-1578


Resources for Local Property Owners

In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.