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NCDOT Signs Off On Second I-77 Toll Project Section, One To Go

I-77 in Cornelius, with south and north toll lanes at the center.
David Boraks
I-77 in Cornelius, with south and north toll lanes at the center.

The contractor building the I-77 toll lanes north of Charlotte has completed work on the second of three sections, and is finishing work on the third.

I-77 Mobility Partners says state transportation officials this week accepted the central section, between I-85 and Cornelius. The northern section in the Lake Norman area was deemed completed in July.

Final construction is continuing on the southern section, from I-277 to I-85, including noise walls, drainage and soil barriers, according to I-77 Mobility Partners.

All lanes in the project opened last November, but final paving and other details have remained. Brett Canipe, the NCDOT's chief engineer for the Charlotte region, said in a recent interview that the project is 95% complete.

"The bulk of the work is done," Canipe said. "The lanes are all open and operational. Some of the ancillary work is what remains. We have an expectation, if all things continue to go well, and the weather cooperates, certainly sometime this calendar year, we think we'll be nearing completion."

By completing another section, the company shrinks the penalties it faces for not finishing the project by last November's deadline. Under its contract with NCDOT, the company must pay $10,000 a day for each section not completed yet.

NCDOT says penalties totaled more than $9 million as of late September.

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.