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 is anticipated to ease congestion on area roadways, including 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.

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)

Latest News and Updates

February 2016: NCDOT recommends "Detailed Study Alternative 2" as the preferred alternative for the Complete 540 project to federal and state agency officials. From west to east, this route contains the orange, green (southern portion), mint and green (northern portion) corridor segments.

NCDOT's federal and state agency partners will now provide formal comments about the Department’s recommendation. NCDOT will then review those comments and make any necessary changes before announcing the official preferred alternative to the public this spring.

View the Detailed Study Alternative 2 route.

November 2015: The Federal Highway Administration has approved the Draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the Complete 540 project.

The Draft EIS summarizes the field work and technical studies completed for the project’s Detailed Study Alternatives. The document includes a discussion of the potential project impacts to the human and natural environment within the study area. (View the Draft EIS.)

The Federal Highway Administration's approval means NCDOT can hold a public review period for the Draft EIS and conduct public meetings in the project area.

Draft EIS Public Comment and Review

Public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to be considered in selection of the Preferred Alternative were accepted from Nov. 9, 2015, until Jan. 8, 2016. NCDOT also held three public meetings and a formal public hearing on the DEIS Dec. 7-9, during which time the following materials and maps were made available for review.

Public Meeting Materials

Public Meeting and Public Hearing Handout (1.89MB) Public Meeting and Public Hearing Handout (Spanish) (1.89MB) Comparative Evaluation Matrix (1MB)
Project Purpose and Need (431KB) Detailed Study Alternatives (2.9MB)
Project Schedule (408KB) About Complete 540 (Video)
Proposed Lane Configuration (1.89MB) Public Meeting Presentation (Video)

Public Hearing Maps

Key Map (high resolution) (114MB) Sheet 5A (87MB) Sheet 7B (99MB)
Key Map (low resolution) (10MB) Sheet 5B (87MB) Sheet 7C (99MB)
Sheet 1 (112MB) Sheet 6A (122MB) Sheet 7D (99MB)
Sheet 2 (81MB) Sheet 6B (123MB) Sheet 7E (99MB)
Sheet 3 (95MB) Sheet 7A (99MB) Sheet 8 (70MB)
Sheet 4 (106MB)

Project Schedule

"Complete 540" Project Schedule*
Draft EIS ApprovedNov. 2, 2015
Draft EIS Review and Public Comment PeriodNov. 9, 2015 to Jan. 8, 2016
Public Meetings and Public HearingDec. 7-9, 2015
Preferred Alternative SelectionSpring 2016
Final EIS ApprovedTBD
Record of Decision PublishedTBD
Construction Contract Awarded for R-2721 (NC 55 Bypass to U.S. 401)Fiscal Year 2017-2018
*Subject to change.


November 2015 Complete 540 Draft Environmental Impact Statement published.
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.

Contact Information

Project Hotline: (800) 554-7849
Mailing Address:
1548 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1548

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.