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Contractor Says Toll Lanes Are Improving Speeds In All I-77 Lanes

Fifteen miles of the I-77 Express Lanes opened Saturday between Huntersville and Mooresville.
David Boraks
Fifteen miles of the I-77 Express Lanes opened June 1, 2019, between Huntersville and Mooresville.

Drivers took a half-million trips on the I-77 Express toll lanes north of Charlotte in June, the first month they were open. But you didn't need to pay a toll to get a faster ride. 

Contractor I-77 Mobility Partners said Friday the toll lanes have helped increase average speeds on the highway in north Mecklenburg during rush hours, although the opening also coincided with the end of the school year and lighter summer traffic. That's compared with speeds before the lanes opened June 1. 

The company also says about 182,000 unique vehicles used the lanes in the first 30 days. That included an average of 12,500 unique vehicles on weekdays.

About 40% of toll lane users have electronic transponders, which automate toll payments. For those without transponders, cameras photograph license plates and drivers get a bill in the mail, but pay a higher feet. Vehicles with three or more people ride free, if they have a transponder.

Fifteen miles of the toll lanes are now open in both directions between Huntersville and Mooresville. The remaining 9 miles of the project from Charlotte to Huntersville are expected to open later this year.

I-77 Mobility Partners is building and maintaining the road under a 50-year, $670 million contract with NCDOT.  

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.