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I-95 changes could include closed exits, tolls

Posted January 28, 2011

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— The state Department of Transportation is considering closing exits and charging tolls as ways to improve Interstate 95.

A stretch of I-95 in Dunn has hardly changed at all since President Dwight D. Eisenhower exited office 50 years ago. Bridges are browned with age and hang too low for today's taller trucks.

The highway is still just four lanes wide, though the traffic count has been ramping up for decades. The DOT says something has to give, and it wants to widen the clogged section between Fayetteville and Interstate 40 to at least six lanes.

"Are there places where we need to change the intersections? We are going to look at that," said DOT spokeswoman Greer Beaty.

Doris Therien, who works as a clerk at a BP gas station at Exit 72, Pope Road, said she is “not too happy” that her exit might be removed. Engineers suggest it might be extraneous, since it’s about a quarter-mile from Exit 73, where a Hampton Inn looms like a beacon.

“It would ruin the business,” Therien said.

Dena Dutton, who manages the BP at Exit 72, agrees.

“If they close this exit, it’s going to kill this area right here, definitely,” she said.

Closing a Dunn exit is no done deal, according to Beaty, who says that North Carolinians all along I-95 are shaping the highway's destiny. A master plan will not be released until November, and it will be crafted with public input from communities along the I-95 corridor.

“In the fall of this year, we’ll have a master plan for the development of I-95,” Beaty said.

Interstate 95, I-95 I-95 changes could include closed exits, tolls

How to pay for the potential changes could be a problem since the state’s finances have gone south. One possibility is tolls. DOT officials met with Harnett County and Dunn leaders this week, but the DOT has not given any specifics on how tolls would look or even if they will happen.

Suresh Patel, owner of the Pop Market at Exit 72, said if tolls are required, put them at the state lines, not for each exit.

Beaty said the effort is unprecedented because the DOT usually focuses on how to improve segments of highways, not an entire stretch of interstate in the state.

“You never get an opportunity to look at an interstate from stem to stern,” Beaty said.


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  • oldrebel Jan 28, 2011

    I see many more problems with I40 than I do with I95.

  • bigal02282 Jan 28, 2011

    You can't pay me enough to take 95 at all. Between I-95 and I-40 between Fayetteville & Raleigh, it's far faster these days to take 401 between the two, just like I did back before I-40. And a lot more enjoyable drive too (well, except for the Raleigh area at rush hour).

  • dbg27822 Jan 28, 2011

    I like the idea of closing some exits, start in Johnston County. In 28 miles there are 13 exits; Numbers 79, 21, 87, 90, 93, 95, 97, 98, 101, 102, 105, 106 & 107. There is also a rest stop at mile marker 99. That is entirely too many exits and too much merging traffic. Closing at least six exits in Johnston County would help traffic flow immensely.

  • cjw6105 Jan 28, 2011

    If you want to see how "great" toll roads are, take a trip on I-77 through West Virginia. Take a look at how this road has stimulated an area that makes Eastern North Carolina look modern. How many local businesses has this road killed off, and how much longer will it take to pay for this road? That tax is now $2 when you stop, and there are 3 stops along this freeway south of Charleston.

    Yes, another tax. Just what we need.

  • ajfuddermukker Jan 28, 2011

    The only thing that will be accomplished by all this is increased traffic on 301 and other roads that parallel 95.

  • IBleedRedandWhite Jan 28, 2011

    Didn't the state get hundreds of millions of dollars in that stimulus package? And didn't I see them pave the same section of 64 about 7 times with that money? Why was it not invested on this project instead?

  • smcallah Jan 28, 2011

    "Thanks for the heads up. I'll plan all my trips via 85 from now on."

    Who in their right mind doesn't do this already if you live west of Fayetteville/Rocky Mount?

    I-85 is a great stretch of road through NC and VA. Hardly any traffic at all, and it ends at I-95 south of Richmond.

  • smcallah Jan 28, 2011

    "Put the toll booths at the VA/NC line and the NC/SC line. It won't impact many NC drivers but the people that pass through can pay for the pleasure of doing so."

    How would you expect that to work? All people would have to do is take the final exit before the toll, take the back road into the other state, and not pay the toll, and get back on I-95, and do the same thing at the next border.

    That's why you toll exits and have toll booths at intervals. So that you toll everyone for what they drove on the road. Locals will easily figure out how to avoid the tolls, as they should be able to if they want.

  • RB-1 Jan 28, 2011

    this is - "No tolls. NC is such a greedy state."

    No, I think tolls should have been executed long ago. They have them on I-95 in other states to help defray the costs of repairs, why NOT NC?

  • RB-1 Jan 28, 2011

    "Bridges are browned with age and hang too low for today's taller trucks."

    If military transport won't fit below those bridges, I'm surprised it's still open by those bridges at all. That's what the interstate was primarily built for - military deployment nationwide should it be needed, not for civilian vehicles, although they let us use it to defray costs and complaining.