NC toll road construction ahead of schedule

Posted December 21, 2010

— The state’s first toll road is under budget by tens of millions of dollars and ahead of schedule, North Carolina Turnpike Authority officials said Monday.

Pavement is already going down and bridges are going up on part of the 18.8-mile Triangle Expressway.

The first section called the Northern Wake Expressway – N.C. 540 between N.C. Highway 54 in Morrisville and N.C. Highway 55 near Research Triangle Park – opened two years ago and has been toll-free since it opened.

But drivers traveling in the area will see concrete columns going up that will eventually be part of a cashless toll collection system that utilizes some of the latest technology to charge motorists.

“(It will be) totally open-road tolling, all high-speed,” Steve Dewitt, with the Turnpike Authority, said. “You’d never have to slow down. You won’t even know it’s happening.

Toll road construction ahead of schedule Toll road construction ahead of schedule

The second section, a 3.4-mile stretch called the Triangle Parkway, will open next year and run from N.C. Highway 147 in Durham to N.C. 540 in Morrisville.

The 12.6-mile Western Wake Freeway, the third part of the Triangle Expressway, is expected to be complete in 2012 and will run from N.C. 55 in Cary to N.C. 55 in Holly Springs.

The cashless toll system involves two options for drivers – one called N.C. Quick Pass, which uses a vehicle transponder and infrared technology, and another that uses video cameras to capture license plate numbers.

Tolls are still undetermined, but drivers will likely be charged anywhere from 10 to 20 cents per mile, or higher, depending on which option they choose.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 22, 2010

    When people don't use this road because of the tolls, the state will raise our taxes to offset the difference between projected and actual revenue from the tolls.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 22, 2010

    It's interesting that toll roads can come in under budget and ahead of time yet non-toll roads go over budget and take longer than projected.

    I bet the state is rushing the project so they can start collecting tolls sooner.

  • Jim Britt Dec 22, 2010

    "You won’t even know it’s happening"

    Until you get the bill.

    "...drivers will likely be charged anywhere from 10 to 20 cents per mile, or higher..."

    The Turnpike Authority management is going to want bonuses so I'm betting it's higher.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Dec 22, 2010

    How about a double decker Capital Blvd? They can put an express way toll road all the way out to Wake Forest. Now that we've got it, we have to feed the Turnpike Authority somehow. That might even be worth it for people who make that drive every day. They might even pay $1 a mile, or more!

  • me2you Dec 22, 2010

    Tolls stink!!!!

  • packbackrb Dec 22, 2010

    Hey Life Ain't ... Capital Blvd. is already one of the widest roads I have ever seen - I lived near it and used it for over 35 years. It's the LIGHTS that make traffic on Capital a nightmare. Don't know what the solution to that is .....

  • Pseudonym Dec 22, 2010

    Quote from jrphill2: "I have never read why the road name changed from I-540 to NC 540. Talk about confusing people not from this area... Anyone know the real reason?"

    There's a Federal law that if a state DOT puts an Interstate marker on a toll road, then the money collected from tolls must pay for maintenance of that road without any further subsidy from Local, State, or Federal governments. In other words, NCDOT, by calling it NC-540 instead of I-540, is hedging their bet that traffic will be light on 540, thus, not enough toll will be collected to maintain it, and it will need further funding from NCDOT to maintain it.

  • nomorethanthat Dec 22, 2010

    How are they going to collect the money from users of the toll highway that do not pay for having a transponder? What if they are from Alaska or some other state, what then?

  • dlnorri Dec 22, 2010

    Another present from Easley and Black... Theoretically the road gets built 5-10 years earlier; and we only have to bankroll a bloated government commision full of fat cats and political opointees for ever.....(great six figure jobs for politicians kids that spent 4 years getting drunk at a liberal arts college)

  • Dec 22, 2010

    "You won’t even know it’s happening.".... sure