23 May 2022
Apex, N.C. — The payoff of North Carolina’s Complete 540 project should be worthwhile, but it’s currently an eyesore and a headache for many Apex residents.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s $2.2 billion project is also known as the Southeast Extension. It 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.
Many residents hear the construction noise 24/7.
“It thuds and pounds and shakes your house,” said Roy Mitchell, who has lived in his Apex home for the last 16 years. “It echoes through and it’s amplified.”
Mitchell lives feet away from the sweeping strip of red clay shooting behind his house. For months, he said he’s struggled to sleep.
“[It is] totally interrupting, if you have a sleeping issue you aren’t going to sleep with this going on,” Mitchell said.
NCDOT’s website shows the project began in November 2019.
Neighbor Pam Lee’s once lush backyard is now only a few feet away from the construction zone. She said her family’s plan was to leave for six months. Lee said she also deals with bright spotlights late at night for construction workers to see what they’re doing.
“I can hear the ‘beep, beep, beep’ when they’re backing up,” Lee said of the vehicles used for construction.
The North Carolina Turnpike Authority said it has heard these residents’ complaints. Turnpike Authority leaders said they are working towards minimizing the amount of equipment used at nights, and are redirecting spotlights.
Last week, the Apex Police Department posted to Facebook about the ongoing construction.
“We have received a number of calls related to construction noise emanating from the NC540 extension project in the area if E. Williams [Street] and Sunset Lake [Road].
“The NCDOT is overseeing the project and is responsible for determining the hours of operation. The NCDOT is also responsible for fielding all the complaints regarding the project and working towards solutions to resolve the complaints that arise.
“As this is a state highway project on a state-maintained roadway, the state outweighs the town of Apex noise ordinance.
“We will contact the NCDOT and advise them of the concerns that have been received.”
The NCDOT is also planning to put up noise walls along the extension.
Both Lee and Mitchell see the benefits of the project’s completion for different reasons.
“It will be quicker to get on [Interstate 40],” Lee said.
Mitchell said the new roadway will take drivers directly to the Research Triangle Park.
The Complete 540 project will link Apex, Cary, Clayton, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs and Raleigh.
Plus, Mitchell thinks it will increase the value of his home.
“The end result will be a payoff for real estate values,” Mitchell said.
The first phase of the project is set to open in late 2023.