North Carolina Eminent Domain Lawyers

NC 540 Southeast Extension

Fast Facts

Project # R-2721, R-2828, R-2829
Type: Final extension of I-540 expressway
Affected Counties: Wake, Johnston
Estimated Cost: $2.18 billion


Construction of the Southeast Extension of the Triangle Expressway will bring the Raleigh Outer Loop (I-540) full circle linking the towns of Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Garner, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, and Raleigh/Knightdale.

After 20 years and 16 different route alternatives (depicted by nearly as many colors) the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) selected its preferred alternative for the remaining 28.4 miles of highway.

The Orange Route

The Orange Route will pick up in Holly Springs in southern Wake County and loop south around Garner. Then the Green, Mint, Green route will head north to close the I-540 loop in Knightdale.

Three-Phased Construction Plan

  • Section 1 will begin construction in 2019, between NC 55 in Holly Springs to US 401 at Wake Tech
  • Section 2 will begin construction in 2020 and will run from US 401 to I-40 at Garner
  • Section 3 construction date is to be determined. The route, however, will run from I-40 at Garner to I-495 in Knightdale

According to the NCDOT, census data shows the population in these areas has grown faster than average for the state – with Holly Springs, Apex, and Knightdale leading the growth spurt. The Southeast Extension is expected to help divert traffic from secondary roads in these and surrounding areas, including I-440, I-40, NC 42, NC 55, and Ten Ten Road.

Orange Route – Pros and Cons

The selection of the Orange Route does not come without controversy.  Environmentalists and others argue that the Orange Route will disrupt the ecosystem of more than 74 acres of wetlands in that area, including the endangered dwarf wedgemussel.

The NCDOT and others in favor insist that the Orange Route offers the best compromise of all 16 routes and presents the least disruption to homes, communities, and the social fabric. This route would displace 281 homes and businesses versus more than 400 homes and businesses, per route, for most of the other routes.

However, the fact that fewer owners overall will be displaced is likely little consolation for the hundreds of property and business owners who will be forced to move. For more information about the potential impact of the project, see the Community Characteristics Report released in May 2011.

Right-of-way agents for the NCDOT will begin contacting property owners to provide compensation. Approximately $250 million has been set aside for right-of-way takings.


NC Eminent Domain Law Firm blog: Who’s Going to be Affected by the I-540 Completion?

The News & Observer: Environmentalists criticize, residents cheer NCDOT’s Orange Route pick for 540 Outer Loop

ABC 11 News: NCDOT Proposed 540 Route Will Impact Hundreds of Homes

ABC 11 News: Environmental Report Issued For NC 540 Completion

The News & Observer: 540 southern loop a road whose time came and went Residents take NC DOT to court over stalled NC 540 project


triangle expressway







Right of way

  • Section 1: 2019 – N.C. 55 in Holly Springs to U.S. 401 at Wake Tech
  • Section 2: 2019 – U.S. 401 to I-40 at Garner
  • Section 3: TBD – I-40 at Garner to I-495 in Knightdale

Start Construction

  • Section 1: 2019 – N.C. 55 in Holly Springs to U.S. 401 at Wake Tech
  • Section 2: 2020 – U.S. 401 to I-40 at Garner
  • Section 3: TBD – I-40 at Garner to I-495 in Knightdale

Property Takings

More than 250 homes, properties, and businesses will be affected by this project. Currently the NCDOT has set aside $250 million for right-of-way takings.

If your property will be affected, contact one of our attorneys for a free case evaluation, or call 1-877-393-4990.