State News

Toll passes go on sale; tolls begin in January

Posted October 11, 2011

— North Carolina's first toll road is almost ready for drivers, and the state has begun selling electronic passes for people who plan to drive the expressway.

The Quick Pass Customer Service Center opened Tuesday in Morrisville, at 200 Sorrell Grove Church Road, Suite A,  to sell the transponders. They are also available online at

Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti and North Carolina Turnpike Authority Director David Joyner were first in line to buy their transponders.

When Phase I of the toll road – a stretch of 3.4 miles between Interstate 40 at N.C. Highway 147 in Durham County south to Interstate 540 in Wake County – opens in December, it and the existing portion of N.C. Highway 540 between N.C. Highways 54 and 55 will be the Tar Heel state's first toll road.

Drivers will have one month's grace, and tolls will begin in January 2012.

By the end of next year, the entire Western Wake Freeway should be open from N.C. 55 in Cary to N.C. 55 in Holly Springs. A section from I-540 to N.C. 55 Apex is expected to open in August.

"This road wouldn't be built for 30 years if we had to rely n the gas tax to pay for it," Joyner said.

Conti foreshadowed more toll roads to come. "We may have to use it much more then we have in the past because our gas tax revenue isn't keeping up with the needs," he said.

Drivers can purchase a $5 sticker for their car that will be linked to all North Carolina toll roads or a $20 device that the DOT expects will ultimately work with the E-Z Pass system in the Northeast and on toll roads in Florida. That agreement has not been finalized, but is expected to be in place by the time the freeway is complete.

"Tolling technology is developing very rapidly across the country. We believe North Carolina is in a leadership position particularly in terms of technology and convenience of this," Conti said.

Either way, tolls are pre-paid. Vehicles with transponders will be debited approximately 15 cents per mile as they pass underneath toll readers. A transponder is linked to a credit card, and drivers receive a monthly statement. Those who prefer to pay in cash can do so only in person at the Morrisville office.

Drivers who don't buy a transponder will pay a bit more. Cameras will photograph their license plates, and they will get a bill in the mail.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dwallace9392 Oct 20, 2011

    It is a great way to pay for the roads,but where does the money from the lottery goes, other than maybe to the schools?

  • native_son_2 Oct 20, 2011

    An Epic monument to irresponsible government spending, and bad budget management. Anyone that uses this road is supporting and endorsing the fiscal mismanagement of state government. No vehicle of mine will set tire on it.

  • jeff27577 Oct 20, 2011

    so if someone else is driving my car..i get a bill? good luck getting me to pay it.

  • Pseudonym Oct 20, 2011

    Quote from Skippy PStam: "Of course all that would require a change in the law, approval by 2 chambers, and a governor's signature."

    Happens every day in all 57 states plus the District of Columbia.

  • luvmynmls Oct 12, 2011

    There is no per mile toll rate. The $.15/mile in the article is based on the flat toll of $.50 for the stretch of 3.4 miles from I-40 at Hwy 147 south to 540, which is mysteriously the only toll posted on the NC Quick Pass website. But I don't drive that way, so I decided to stop by the NC Quick Pass office to see just how frustrated I could get on my lunch break, er, I mean to ask how much it will cost to drive the existing section between Hwy 55 in Cary and Hwy 54 in Morrisville. After A LOT of confusion and looking at the map of the project, I was told it would be $.30 to get on at Hwy 55 and drive East, however far you need to go. They can't charge by distance, they would need toll gates at every on and off ramp which they don't have, not yet anyway. When I asked about the rates for the portion around and down to Holly Springs, I was told those rates aren't set yet.

  • mikec2 Oct 12, 2011

    I need to understand where the road is going to go. Coming in from Fuquay ... if the road would save me some time, I'm open to it. At 15 cents/mile, it is pretty steep, especially considering that that is the rate for users with the xponder. I have travelled north and the rate/mile is generally much lower than that. It is funny though that those of us in Southern Wake got to pay taxes for the northern part AND tolls for the southern part. I guess we're just special.

  • HillBilly Oct 12, 2011

    Everythingticksmeoff, way to miss the point.

  • superman Oct 11, 2011

    I dont need to use the road and see no need that my taxes go to pave a nice new road for you. Our subdivision road is only about 1/2 miles long. There must be several hundred patches over the last 30 years. It has never been resurfaced and they tell us they have no money. Please resurface our road and make it a toll road.

  • sjb2k1 Oct 11, 2011

    i can't wait to see how many people actually use this toll road. CAN'T WAIT.

    i won't be using it as i have no reason to.

  • caryzoo Oct 11, 2011

    "We believe North Carolina is in a leadership position particularly in terms of technology and convenience of this," Conti said.
    North Carolina ALWAYS thinks its in a better position than other states for ...whatever.
    I am curious how many miles they are counting on being paid to break even. Most people I know who work west of Raleigh have no intention of using this road. Just curious.