In 2011 North Carolina lawmakers voted to stop the North Carolina Department of Transportation from studying the controversial so-called “Red Route”, which proposed routing part of I-540 through Garner. That move caused the federal government to pull funding from the project because it meant that no alternatives for the route would be studied – a violation of federal law.
In May of this year lawmakers reversed course and passed Session Law 2013-94, which allows the “Red Route” to be studied. The law also directs the DOT to expedite the environmental studies necessary for closing the I-540 loop. As a result, the DOT recently announced that it will resume the I-540 project, deemed “Complete 540.” As part of that announcement the DOT indicated that it will hold three public meetings in October to present information and maps of the alternatives:
Although the DOT has kicked off the project study, groundbreaking on the project is not expected to occur until 2018.