Traffic

Toll road exceeding expectations after first month

Posted January 30, 2012
Updated January 31, 2012

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— Drivers have taken more than 106,000 trips in the Triangle Parkway since the state began collecting tolls on the highway four weeks ago, North Carolina Turnpike Authority officials said Monday.

The trips on the 3.5-mile road, which links Interstate 40 and N.C. Highway 147 in Durham County and N.C. Highway 540 in Wake County, had racked up $46,739 in tolls through Sunday, officials said.

Most drivers are using the toll road without an NC QuickPass transponder, which automatically deducts the toll from a driver's account.

Fifty-four percent of the trips are in vehicles where drivers are relying on overhead cameras to snap photos of their license plates. The Turnpike Authority then bills the vehicle owners monthly by mail.

Through Friday, more than 11,000 bills had been mailed.

The Turnpike Authority has sold about 13,700 transponders so far, far above the 2,700 the Turnpike Authority expected to sell by June, officials said.

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.

A handful of people have already disputed toll charges, said Dane Berglund, customer service director for the Turnpike Authority. They claimed either that they were lost and didn't realize they were on a toll road or that they were never on the Triangle Parkway, he said.

Berglund said the cameras don't lie, and no one has been excused from paying the tolls so far.

Drivers who fail to pay the toll after two weeks could face additional fees and penalties, including having a hold placed on a vehicle's annual registration.

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  • kcfoxie Feb 1, 2012

    You'll pay the toll that's billed by mail if you intend to renew the vehicle's license plate. That's all I have to say on the subject, the state was not stupid when it thought about "bill by mail."

  • hitider Jan 31, 2012

    Sure it is! It's going to be a big successful flop. I painted some little car figures on my sunglasses lenses just so when I ride by and look that way it looks like people are using it. I would never ever imagine that officials would tell a lie about it being a success. But wait a minute! Their lips are moving again...

  • SomeRandomGuy Jan 31, 2012

    I think they are bluffing. I go by this road twice a day and have NEVER seen more than 3 cars at once on it. I don't know where WRAL is getting the toll numbers from, but the signs say the tolls are 50-77 cents a mile.

  • skinnyCat Jan 31, 2012

    davidk_at_unc, I am not sure I can agree with you. At 15 cents per mile, if you go 30 miles on a gallon, then you will pay $4.50 in tolls for every gallon of gas you burn. What you are saying is that if you pull up to the gas pumps and one is charging $3.50 and the other is $8.00 that you can save money by using the $8 gas. Without the transponder, you are at $10.70 per gallon after tolls.

  • awr117 Jan 31, 2012

    I like how the article makes it sound like a success. These numbers seem pretty low to me. I've driven past the toll road from 40 about a dozen times and think i've counted around 8 cars total using the road. Seriously, the road is dead with no one on it.

  • fishon Jan 31, 2012

    If you use your credit card to pay the bill does not the card company charge the state $2-3 per transaction? So the state benefits, the state workers benefit, the post office benefits, and the credit card companies benefit.

  • davidk_at_unc Jan 31, 2012

    To all you people who vow never to use the toll road and to never give a cent to the state for it, you really need to try to think beyond the end of your nose, to mix metaphors. By taking the older, longer, more congested routes you'll be spending more on gas, on tires and on car maintenance, not to mention whatever value, if any, you put on your own time. Oh, you'll be spending money alright, just to the oil companies and the tire companies and the car dealerships - not to the state of NC, which is trying to provide better transportation options to its citizens. I admire your sense of civic responsibility!

  • LuvLivingInCary Jan 31, 2012

    do the math...that's 2.45 cars per minute averaging... that's a great use of highway funds and a great success story with the high gas tax.

    106,000/30 days/24 hours per day/60 minutes = 2.45 cars per minute

  • dcatz Jan 31, 2012

    http://www.ncdot.gov/projects/triangleexpressway/

    "The project’s cost is just over $1 billion and is the single largest transportation infrastructure project in North Carolina history."

    Obviously, some people are getting some very nice kickbacks off of this. Unless they are building the yellow-brick road, I refuse to believe that an 18 mile anything costs $1 billion dollars.

  • Capt Mercury Jan 31, 2012

    "The state is charging folks $5.00 processing fee on top of the toll fee for sending the toll bill in the mail. Betcha didnt know dat did ya !!!"

    No, in fact I bet most of the people getting these bills in the mail didn't know it, and I bet they can avoid paying it since the fee is not disclosed on the signs leading to the toll road.
    Let's face it, 99% of the bills mailed to out of state drivers will never get paid. Why would they?

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