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Project Profile: Complete 540 Phase 1

I-77 Express Lanes

Source: North Carolina Department of Transportation

Caption: The Complete 540 Project will extend the Triangle Expressway from the N.C. 55 Bypass in Apex to U.S. 64/U.S. 264 (I-87) in Knightdale, completing the 540 Outer Loop around the greater Raleigh area.


Raleigh, North Carolina

Project Borrower

North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA), a Division of NCDOT

Program Areas

P3Project FinanceTolling and PricingTIFIA


Toll Highway


The project is designed to extend the Triangle Expressway 28.4 miles from the NC 55 Bypass in Apex to U.S. 64/US 264 (I-87) in Knightdale, completing the 540 Outer Loop around the greater Raleigh area.

Phase I of the project, known as the Southern Extension, will provide the final segments of the 540 Outer Loop. The extension will have six travel lanes (three in each direction), a 70-foot wide median, and a posted speed limit of 70 mph. It will extend the Triangle Expressway from its southern terminus by 17.1 miles and will include interchanges at NC 55 Bypass, Holly Springs Road, Bells Lake Road, US 401, Old Stage Road, NC 50, I-40/US 70 (Clayton Bypass), White Oak Road, Rock Quarry Road, US 70 Business, Auburn Knightdale Road, Poole Road, and US 64/264 (I-495/87). The project also includes 55 bridges, 25 box culverts, and two stream crossings.

The Complete 540 Project, which is formally supported by local governments, will improve mobility during peak travel periods and address increased transportation demands on the existing roadway network, linking Apex, Cary, Clayton, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, and Raleigh. The project avoids impacts to the Swift Creek watershed critical area (a source for Raleigh’s drinking water), Clemmons Educational State Forest, and historic resources. The new freeway, by linking metropolitan and rural areas of North Carolina together, will also help bring new jobs and opportunities to the regional business community.

Construction is likely to be completed by 2027 in three segments and, depending on available funding, each segment will likely have different construction timelines. The first segment will be from US 401 and I-40, the second from NC 55 Bypass and US 401, and the third from I-40 to US 64/264 (I-495/87).


$1.52 Billion

Funding Sources

Senior Debt - $438.8 million (Par of $378.3 million)

GARVEE Bonds - $243.0 million

NCDOT State match - $ 81.0 million

TIFIA loan - $501.5 million

PayGo (Pay As You GO) - $30.2 million

Appropriations Debt -$111.9 million
Project Delivery / Contract Method


Private Partner

Public Sponsor: NCTA

Construction: Flatiron-Branch Civil joint venture (2 contracts)

Construction: Lane-Blythe (joint venture)

Operator (once completed): NCTA
Project Advisors / Consultants

To the Borrower:

  • Financial Advisor: PFM Financial Advisors, LLC
  • Legal: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

To the United States Department of Transportation Build America Bureau:

  • Financial Advisor: Greengate
  • Legal Advisor: Nixon Peabody


Duration / Status

Substantial completion projected by June 2023.

Financial Status / Financial Performance

TIFIA Credit Agreement signed in December 2019. The TIFIA loan will be repaid from gross toll revenues.

  • Design-Build contracts for all three segments.
  • Supported by all local governments.
  • Minimizes the number of relocations of homes and businesses
  • Avoids impacts to the Swift Creek watershed critical area (a source for Raleigh’s drinking water).
  • Avoids the Clemmons Educational State Forest.
  • Avoids impacts to historic resources.
  • Electronic Toll System
Related Links / Articles

David Roy
Director of Finance
Turnpike Authority
North Carolina Department of Transportation
1 South Wilmington Street
1578 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1578
Tel: (800) 554-7849

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