Some spans to become toll bridges

Posted May 7, 2008

— In the state’s efforts to replace 8,000 bridges in 20 years, some spans are on an early list to become toll bridges.

The state has 18,000 bridges. In order to replace 8,000 of them, the state Department of Transportation will need to replace 400 per year. Currently, it averages 120 per year.

The first public-private partnership in the state would put a toll bridge over the Currituck Sound on the outer banks near Corolla, said David Joyner, the executive director for the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.

The toll is expected to be between $12 and $20 each way. Construction is scheduled to begin next year.

Joyner said another toll bridge is planned over the Cape Fear River.

“This bridge is scheduled to be built somewhere south of the port in Wilmington,” Joyner said.

Joyner said toll bridges that cost millions of dollars to build use minimal tax dollars, if any.

“It’s a tremendous expense that we take off the table from DOT,” Joyner said.

State Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, sponsored the legislation to establish the first toll authority in North Carolina. He supports toll projects, but not if they replace an existing road or bridge.

Hoyle is a member of a statewide transportation committee, which is discussing a proposal to replace the Yadkin River Bridge, just east of Salisbury on Interstate 85, with a toll bridge.

“As a person who has been involved with this from the beginning, I’d say the chances of a bridge being built over the Yadkin River with a toll is pretty slim to none,” Hoyle said.

Joyner said something has to be done to replace the bridge.

“I think it’s a question of whether the political will is there to use tolls to do it and we’ll see,” Joyner said, acknowledging that money isn’t there for it now.

The 21st Century Transportation Committee is expected to take action on the Yadkin River Bridge proposal Tuesday morning.  If approved, the toll would cost about $2 each way.

Tolls and bonds are also the talk for a major project that could make it faster to get to the southern beaches.

Commissioners in Brunswick and New Hanover Counties said a bond may be the best bet to build a major leg of the Wilmington bypass, which would connect 421 with Highway 17 east of Wilmington.


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  • Bob Sidel May 8, 2008

    we are now entering the 21st century in this state

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc May 8, 2008

    A $12 - $20 toll bridge will absolutely kill tourism businesses in that area.

  • john60 May 8, 2008

    The Corolla bridge bypasses that big bottleneck along US 158 going to Duck, etc, in the summer. It also helps evacuate that area if a hurricane approaches. Very few in state tourists use that route to get to the Outer Banks; most are Virginians in fact. The Wilmington bridge bypasses the downtown area for everyone going to Carolina Beach, etc. If you don't want to pay the toll on either bridge, there are non-tolled options already out there.

    The I-85 Yadkin River bridge, OTOH, is a BAD idea to put a toll on. That bridge desperately needs replacing but there's more to it than just building a new bridge, which is what's making the cost so high.

    Tolls on new routes with free alternate routes are ok; tolls on existing interstates are WRONG.

  • cj1979 May 8, 2008

    Correction - Just where are out tax dollars going???

  • kal May 8, 2008

    HOW MUCH?????? And NC wants to ATTRACT tourist.

    If they would stop taking money away WE wouldn;t have to keep putting it back in at a later date. This is one of those things we need to remember at election time.

  • cj1979 May 7, 2008

    Mr Joyner please take your toll roads and turnpike authority back to NY/NJ were they belong.

    Just were are our tax dollars going???

  • 300zx May 7, 2008

    Just got back from a trip to Fla from Wilmington NC.I t amazes me that the roads traveled in SC to Fla were in great shape.Yes construction was being performed along the way and had been for the last 12 years or so I have been making this trip.How can these states do all this work to maintain the highways and NC can't?I will say one thing though,NC has some fine rest areas though.If the highways were as nice as those like the one up by Lumberton I don't see where any one could complain.As for the bridges,the estimated cost of the bridge in Wilmington is to be close to a BILLION DOLLARS.It will be payed for by charging tolls.Yeah,right.The guy who's trying to sell this ought to look into becoming a stand up comic.

  • tartar1 May 7, 2008

    we need the toll bridge here in wilmington. traffic is only getting worse and its not summer time yet! (tourist)

  • thewayitis May 7, 2008

    If we could just get back the money that the governor took from the Highway Fund....

    This turnpike authority needs to go. Every time I read something where that David Joyner is quoted, it makes me want to throw up. Does this Turnpike Authority have the power to do whatever they want? Shouldn't the state legislature decide whether or not we have toll roads? This is something I have never understood -- from where does this Turnpike Authority get its power?

  • corvair024 May 7, 2008

    "The toll is expected to cost between $12 and $20 each way." Are you kidding me? That is insane! I do not mind paying a small toll, say $1. How about we just charge all out-of-state people the $12-$20 and NC residents pay nothing to at most $1.