APEX, N.C. — Members of the public got their first look Thursday evening at the toll road proposed for the Interstate 540 extension known as the Western Wake Parkway.
State officials say the only way to pay for the roadway from—I-40 to NC 55 in the south—is to charge drivers to use it. They say town leaders in the area asked them to look into charging a toll to put the project on the fast track.
Hundreds of people crowded into the cafeteria at Apex High School to check out new plans for the proposed toll road.
The 18-mile extension of 540 will cost $800 million. With construction costs rising, the state says charging a toll is likely the only way to get the project done. With a $2 charge for each car, they said, the road would be paid off in about 39 years.
“How about the other roads? They got built without tolls. Can't the state budget enough so they know what's going to happen?” Jim Maher asked.
The state just opened a stretch of I-540 up north from Capital Boulevard to U.S. Highway 64 last month. It's toll free.
"It's not fair to the people who live in western Wake that they get charged a toll and the rest of the county gets off scot-free," Apex resident Bob Gubar said.
John and Jola Hubisz say they are facing an even bigger toll than paying to drive—and whether or not the state makes it a toll highway. The plans displayed at the meeting have the road running straight through their waterfront property.
"They are going to kill all the fish, drain the pond and put an on ramp, right there over the pond in our front yard," Jola Hubisz said.
Officials say they will take all comments and complaints under consideration, but they admit that the wheels are already in motion to turn this road into a reality. If the toll road gets state approval, the road will be under construction in a year and open by 2011.