A joint venture of Flatiron Construction Corp. and Fred Smith Co., along with lead designer ICE of Carolinas, is advancing a $449.9-million section of North Carolina’s $2.5-billion Complete 540 project through design and preconstruction. The contract comes as the project is approaching the milestones of Phase 1 completion and the start of Phase 2 construction this year.

The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT) and N.C. Turnpike Authority’s Complete 540 project is extending the Triangle Expressway, also known as State Route 540, to make it a complete loop around the Raleigh area. 

This is the first of two projects planned under Phase 2 of the project, and it covers about 6.6 miles of six-lane divided highway plus three interchanges in Wake County. The contract scope also includes construction of 19 bridges and the rehabilitation and widening of an existing Interstate 540 bridge over Interstate 87. 

complete_540_map.jpgThe Complete 540 project is being built in five segments. Map courtesy of North Carolina Dept. of Transportation

The team is planning to use an “over-under” design for the direct connection ramp from southbound I-87 to westbound State Route 540, which the contractors say will save money and time while minimizing traffic impacts during construction. They also say they optimized the design to reduce planned earthwork by 1.3 million cu yd.

This is the third segment of the Complete 540 project Flatiron is working on. As the lead partner in another joint venture with Branch Civil, the Broomfield, Colo.-based contractor is also working on two of the Phase 1 sections that are expected for completion by the fall.

Jim Schneiderman, senior vice president for Flatiron’s Mid-Atlantic division, said in a statement that the project “will pave the way for continued growth and greater opportunity in this rapidly growing urban area by making day-to-day travel safer and more efficient.”

Construction on the Phase 2 segment could also begin by the fall, with completion scheduled for 2028, according to Flatiron and NCDOT. 

State officials awarded a $287-million contract for the other piece of Phase 2 last fall to a Branch-S.T. Wooten joint venture.