Report says tolling necessary to improve I-95

Posted January 19, 2012

— A state-commissioned study recommends tolling the 182-mile stretch of Interstate 95 that runs from South Carolina to Virginia to pay for $4.4 billion in road improvements.

The $6.4 million I-95 Corridor Planning and Finance Study, which was submitted to the state this month, found it necessary to raise bridges, rebuild others, improve interchanges, bring the interstate up to current safety standards and widen the highway from beginning to end.

North Carolina would only be able to fund about 10 percent of the project. Bonds would pay for the first of two phases, and tolls would pay for the second.

"Without putting a toll on I-95, there really is no other way to make these improvements, and these are necessary improvements," Kristine O'Connor, a project manager with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said Thursday.

Construction on Phase I – 61 miles from mile marker 20 in Robeson County to mile marker 81 at the Interstate 40/95 interchange in Johnston County – would begin in 2016 and end sometime in 2019.

It would include widening 50 miles, from mile marker 31 to mile marker 81, to eight lanes. The remaining sections would be widened to six lanes.

The second phase would get under way after the first is complete.

Interstate 95 sign Report says tolling necessary to improve I-95

Electronic tolling – the same type of technology being utilized on Interstate 540 in Wake County – would begin on all of the North Carolina stretch of I-95 after the first phase.

Travel on Phase I would cost 19.2 cents a mile. The remainder would be tolled at almost 6.4 cents a mile. Driving the entire stretch would cost about $19.20.

The plan calls for nine tolling zones, about 20 miles apart, meaning that some trips would still be free, depending on where drivers enter and exit the highway.

"We want to try to minimize the impacts to locals using the highway," Knox said.

Historically, states have not been allowed to toll existing roads, but North Carolina is applying to be part of a federal pilot program that would make the I-95 project an exception.

The state will be notified by May if it is approved for the program.

In the meantime, the DOT has planned seven public hearings on the project, beginning Feb. 7 and ending Feb. 27.


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  • haggis basher Jan 23, 2012

    "You dont mind paying 40k for a SUV."

    you might not, but no car I have ever owned comes close to 40K

  • haggis basher Jan 23, 2012

    "I suppose y'all would rather taxes pay for the expansion? I drive I-95 frequently, and it definitely needs modernizing. Wouldn't be thrilled with paying a toll, but seems to me more reasonable for those who actually use it to foot the bill than for everyone to pay for it through taxes."

    seeing as it was built and maintained for decades without a toll what has changed that it now needs one? We are (on average)richer in real terms than we were then and its not get any longer and we have a much bigger population to spread the cost over.....

  • haggis basher Jan 23, 2012

    "With gas screaming towards $4 a gallon we're not paying you a dime more to drive on OUR pot hole covered roads!"

    Gas is about $3.40 and no sign of going close to $4 anytime soon..........gotta love those that whine about taxes and then whine about pot holes when the State cuts their Taxes.....or is not allowed to increase it when revenue falls.

  • superman Jan 23, 2012

    It is only right when the people who use the road be the ones to pay for it. Americans have gotten to the place that they believe they are entitlted to things and that someone else should pay for it. Now if they do the same with education there would be a generous surplus in the state budget. Couples should be required to pay $1500 income tax on each dependent. The county property tax should be based on the value of the property and the number of occupants. People who have children are getting public welfare from those of us who do not have children. Proof of paying taxes would be required for a child to attend school. Couples should be required to furnish the state proof of financial ability before they can have children. The price of gas and the price of a car has nothing to do with having good roads. You dont mind paying 40k for a SUV.

  • grimreaper Jan 23, 2012

    Public Hearings...yeah, right...just a formality...they already have their minds made up and deals in place way before those meaningless hearings...

  • ORMA Jan 20, 2012

    With gas taxes being some of the highest in the COUNTRY and that money supposed to be going to DOT for road maintenance, how in the WORLD can they be trying to get more money out of us? Oh, yeah. Poor fiscal management (if any) at NCDOT. I think it is time for a total revamping of NCDOT. Fire them all and start from scratch.

  • Screw WrAl Jan 20, 2012

    Burn the report. We don't care what it says. With gas screaming towards $4 a gallon we're not paying you a dime more to drive on OUR pot hole covered roads!

  • davisgw Jan 20, 2012

    There are too many routes for me to get to South Carolina or Virginia from Fayetteville to pay a toll. Especially with the new gas tax in place.

  • NCST8Gal Jan 20, 2012

    Well, next project will be on all the back roads that everyone will detour to rather than using a tolled I-95. Those will be my new alternate route!

  • NCPictures Jan 20, 2012

    "When gas companies start maintaining our roads, at no cost to me, then I'll stop complaining." ---Ezekiel c23 v19to20

    AT NO COST TO YOU?????????????????