North Carolina’s First Toll Road

Earlier this year the North Carolina Turnpike Authority announced the completion of the state’s first toll road.

Costing approximately $1B, the Triangle Expressway is an 18mile stretch of six lane road connecting Durham to Holly Springs.  Unlike the proposed HOT lanes on I-77, the TriEx is a publicly operated road.  The state paid for approximately two thirds by issuing bonds, and the remaining one third comes from a federal loan.  Tolls are a comparatively modest 14.5 cents per mile, give or take.

The initial traffic projection was 54,000 vehicles per day.  This was subsequently

Triangle Expressway at approximately 10am on a weekday morning.

Triangle Expressway at approximately 10am on a weekday morning.

downgraded to 20,000 vpd, fewer cars than West Catawba Avenue in Cornelius carries.  So far, it carries about 6,000vpd, or about what I-77 carries in 45 minutes.

Because traffic counts are so low, the General Assembly recently pledged $25 million per year for 30 years (if need be) to cover debt service and operating costs.

Transportation officials note these low traffic numbers “indicate the extent to which the tollroad is being built to cater to future traffic arising from development rather than existing traffic.”

So the state has spent a billion dollars to build a road that someone might drive on someday. Nearly twenty years from now, traffic counts are expected to reach 40,000.

I-77 at exit 28 carries more than twice that today.

11 Responses to North Carolina’s First Toll Road

  1. Jack says:

    It is time to tell them if the I-77 widening from exit 19 to exits 36 is going to be a toll road, we’ll live without it. Only the rich will be able to afford it anyway. No federally approved interstate should need to become a toll road. Only penalizes the local residents in and around Lake Norman..

  2. Joe Starosciak says:

    On you first point if NC should consider a toll road it should be in the fashion of the Triangle Expressway since precedent has already taken place in toll roads for NC and it is more cost effective to the taxpayers. TV News reported last night that DOT is having informational meetings in the afternoons to answer questions but that the toll road with the 50 year contract is already a done deal. If that is the case than it should be voided due to the fact that the vast majority of taxpayers and totally against this type of plan and that their is no precedent in North Carolina for privately managed toll lanes that we will have to except for 50 years. How do we as Lake Norman Taxpayers put an end to this foolishness once and for all.

  3. Joe Guerrero says:

    Another “road to nowhere”. Why is it the state can find money anytime they want to fund some “pork” but they’re want to shove these HOT lanes down our throats?

  4. Jim says:

    Apparently there was another meeting held at the Huntersville Town Hall; http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/02/28/3882379/state-highway-officials-defend.html
    It sure would have been nice if someone had notified this the group monitoring this website. I’d be available to help if I only knew when and where.

    • Kurt Naas says:

      Hi Jim- we’re figuring out ways to get more people involved and also notified of events. We should have a process in a couple weeks. In the meantime, please comments/post if you learn of anything. The more eyes and ears the better!
      Kurt

      • Jack says:

        Once all four of the Lake Norman towns cowtowed to Charlotte(Who controls MUMPO) it should be obvious that the other Lake Norman citizens don’t really have a voice. These HOT lanes are wrong and I hope they build nothing if they aren’t going to do general purpose lanes. Charlotte is robbing teh Lake Norman area of their rightful request for 4 GP lanes on I77 by lumping it with better connectivity to uptown Charlotte(Brookshire Blvd. I go there all the time It is not needed but even if it was, how do you connect two projects over 9 miles apart. Yes we need less government interference.

  5. Lisa Koppenhofer says:

    Hi Kurt, Thanks for staying the course. They are all crooks!! Lisa K.

    ________________________________

  6. […] at a cost of $1B.  In 20 years it is projected to carry half the traffic I-77 does today.  You can read more about it here, but suffice it to say if we’re in a funding bind we should not be spending a billion dollars on […]

  7. […] at a cost of $1billion.  In 20 years it is projected to carry half the traffic I-77 does today.  You can read more about it here, but suffice it to say if we’re in a funding bind we should not be spending a billion dollars on […]

  8. […] mode.  Right now there’s one toll road in North Carolina- the Triangle Expressway.  You can read more about it here.  Suffice it to say, traffic and revenues have been dismal, but one NCDOT official says that […]

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