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Clayton joins I-540 chorus

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CLAYTON — The Town Council last week joined the push to speed completion of Interstate 540.

The state’s Turnpike Authority and Department of Transportation are seeking a federal grant that would allow them to accelerate the project, which is designed in part to ease congestion on Triangle roadways.

Without additional dollars, completion of I-540 is years away, Stacy Beard, Clayton’s public information officer, noted at last week’s Town Council meeting. “Right now, it looks like fuinding for this project wouldn’t be available until 2029,” she said. “A grant like this would help accelerate that time.”

In a resolution, the Town Council called I-540 a boon for Clayton commuters and the town’s economy.

“The completion of 1-540 will aid in the reduction of traffic on existing highways and support the continuing growth of all communities within Johnston County,” the resolution states.

The DOT has said I-540 will ease congestion on a number of roads, including Interstate 40, Interstate 440 and N.C. 42. Clayton leaders expect 540 will also lighten traffic on U.S. 70, Rock Quarry Road, Smithfield Road and Buffalo Road.

“The Town of Clayton understands a large percentage of our residents commute to Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park area for work and would travel along the I-540 corridor,” the resolution states.

In addition to easing the morning and evening commutes, I-540 will aid economic development, town leaders said. “Infrastructure is critical to the economic vitality of both Clayton and Johnston County,” the resolution states. And “adequate road access is an essential part of the infrastructure necessary to support existing development, new investment, and expansion of the employment base.”

Simply put, the project matters to Clayton, the Town Council said. “Economic development, travel, employment, reduction of traffic congestion and highway safety are matters that are extremely important for the leadership, residents and businesses of the Town of Clayton,” the resolution states.

Clayton will forward its resolution to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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