Traffic

Drivers roll on state's first toll road

Posted January 2, 2012
Updated January 31, 2012

— More than 10,000 cars were equipped with the transponders that will automatically debit their drivers for tolls Tuesday by the time the North Carolina Turnpike Authority began collecting tolls on the 3.5-mile Triangle Parkway.

The stretch between Interstate 40 and N.C. Highway 147 in Durham County and N.C. Highway 540 in Wake County is the first road in the state to charge a toll. It opened to drivers on Dec. 8, and toll collection began Tuesday.

NC Quickpass, toll Huge response greets toll road

"It will make things quicker," said driver Dela Adams. She was one of thousands who pre-purchased the N.C. QuickPass transponder, which connects a vehicle to a credit or debit account.

When a car with a transponder passes underneath one of several overhead monitors along the new toll road, the cost of the trip is automatically deducted from the linked account. For cars without transponders, overhead cameras along the Triangle Expressway will snap pictures of the license plates, and the vehicle's owner will be mailed a bill.

Purchase NC Quickpass

The cost of the Triangle Parkway trip is 30 to 50 cents with a QuickPass and 45 to 77 cents without. By the time the entire Triangle Expressway opens in late 2012, the tolls will average 15 cents a mile with a transponder and about 24 cents a mile without.

The Turnpike Authority expects rates to increase about 5 percent a year through 2015. Money collected from the tolls will pay off about 70 percent of the $1 billion construction cost of the road.

Turnpike Authority Chief Operating Officer Barry Mickle said that, without tolls, it could have taken another 20 to 25 years to get the highway built. Instead, a section from Interstate 540 to U.S. Highway 64 in Apex is expected to open in August. The section of the highway extending from U.S. 64 to N.C. Highway 55 in Holly Springs will open by next December. 

Drivers who fail to pay the toll after two weeks could face additional fees and penalties.

"If you refuse to pay your bill, after it reaches a certain limit, we do have the ability to hold your (vehicle) registration," Mickle said. 

The transponder comes in two forms. A hard-cased, $20 QuickPass will eventually interact with other toll systems up and down the east coast. Mickle said officials hope to have those agreements in place by next summer.

For people who don't drive much outside of North Carolina, a $5 QuickPass sticker transponder is available.

150 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • greg69innc Jan 4, 1:59 p.m.

    The only toll road I can honestly see is possibly tolling NC 12 in the outer banks due to its constant abuse that hurricanes tend to bring to it constantly.

  • greg69innc Jan 4, 1:58 p.m.

    It is estimated that 5 million drivers drive in NC everyday. So if 5 million drivers buys just one gallon of gas which sends our leaders .38 that equals out to 1.9 million dollars a day going to our state. Let us all not forget that every commercial vehicle also pays fuel tax and a highway road usage tax on every mile driven in NC's roads. The overweight tickets by commercial vehicles is supposed to also go towards maintaining our highways.

    Can I get a copy of NC's budget and how my tax money was wasted as there is no excuse in this inadequate flim flam childish tactics our state is resorting too.

  • greg69innc Jan 4, 1:53 p.m.

    The fact is this is an insult to all North Carolinians. We are the fifth highest state concerning the gas tax. We also are one of the few states that have a much higher unemployment rate way over the federal rate and our leaders cannot budget and manage the tax money they have been receiving for decades to take care of our roads. Thatis the outrage not the toll but the irresponsible and inadequate leadership that is obviously plaguing our state on both sides to the political spectrum.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 3, 7:47 p.m.

    The more they take the more they waste, then they turn around and ask us for more.

  • WooHoo2You Jan 3, 7:46 p.m.

    Simple woohoo, gas taxes and vehicle registrations have always been the usage fees that paid for roads. Now can you tell me why government always needs new and higher taxes to preform the same duties as it used to?-68_dodge_polara

    At least you did not avoid the question entirely...

    Why do they support one and slam the other???

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 3, 7:35 p.m.

    Simple woohoo, gas taxes and vehicle registrations have always been the usage fees that paid for roads. Now can you tell me why government always needs new and higher taxes to preform the same duties as it used to?

  • WooHoo2You Jan 3, 7:21 p.m.

    Please explain to me the 'logic' of the Right: They started charging "use fees" on driver's ed (which is MANDATORY) however they complain about tolls (other use fee) on a brand new and completely optional road that has countless other alternatives. Enlighten me....

  • shoutntime Jan 3, 7:05 p.m.

    How about Occupy the Toll Road and everyone just park their car until it jams up traffic.

  • Screw WrAl Jan 3, 6:51 p.m.

    Loved the footage on wral at 6pm. One car behind the sad reporter. One.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 3, 6:47 p.m.

    Only toll roads will be built from now on as too much money is at steak. The old system of paying for roads with gas taxes and vehicle registrations is gone as the Democrats raid the Highway trust fund of everything it has every year.

More...