Turnpike Authority addresses toll road concerns

The Western Wake Expressway will affect homeowners and businesses from Cary to Holly Springs.

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — A long-awaited road project in Wake County is becoming closer to a reality.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority held an open house Thursday for area businesses and residents about the Western Wake Freeway, a segment of the state's first toll road, the Triangle Expressway.

The Turnpike Authority says several businesses and nearly three dozen homes will be directly affected by the roadway and will have to relocate.

Hundreds of people attended the informal event to discuss the project with builders and to review the designs and the route.

The 12.6-mile, $446 million roadway runs from existing N.C. Highway 540 in western Wake County south of Interstate 40 to the N.C. Highway 44 bypass in Holly Springs.

"We've been there a long time," Apex resident Marvin Howard said. "We've been there since I was a little child, so it's going to bring a few tears, but we'll live."

The contractor, The Raleigh-Durham Road Builders, says it hopes to begin clearing trees in the next few weeks. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2012.

The first section of the three-part, 18.8-mile Triangle Expressway – N.C. Highway 540 between N.C. Highway 54 in Morrisville and N.C. 55 near Research Triangle Park – opened two years ago, and drivers have been using it toll-free since then.

The other section, the 3.4-mile Triangle Parkway from I-40 and the Durham Freeway to N.C. 540 is expected to open in 2011.

The Triangle Expressway will use an electronic, no-stop, cashless toll system. The price of the tolls has yet to be determined, but the Western Wake design team estimates it could be about 10 cents to 20 cents per mile.

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