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Some Trucks Can Use I-77 Toll Lanes Starting On Monday

020321 Toll lane truck.JPG
David Boraks
Trucks sometimes use the I-77 toll lanes illegally, like this one spotted Feb. 3 2021. As of Monday, Feb. 8, some trucks will be able to use the toll lanes legally. Two-axle trailers like this one would still be prohibited.

Some larger vehicles will be allowed to use the toll lanes on I-77 beginning Monday. North Carolina Department of Transportation and toll-lane operator I-77 Mobility Partners said the lanes will now be open to two-axle trucks and vehicles pulling one-axle trailers.

Those drivers will pay double or triple the tolls charged to passenger vehicles, and like other vehicles, the charges will vary by time of day.

Drivers can pay automatically using an electronic toll transponder, or choose to get a bill in the mail and pay up to 35% more.

Eighteen-wheelers and other big trucks are still banned from the lanes. But they're open to public buses.

I-77 Mobility Partners said the addition of "extended vehicles" is a three-year pilot project with NCDOT, which owns the highway. NCDOT said the change "is a result of the community and the local advisory group formed by Governor Cooper working with NCDOT to expand access to the express lanes."

Extended vehicles defined are two-axle motor vehicles whose length exceeds 22 feet or that are pulling single-axle trailers. That includes delivery vans, two-axle box trucks, flatbed trucks and landscaping trucks.

The I-77 Express lanes run 26 miles between Charlotte and Mooresville. I-77 Mobility Partners is touting the change as a benefit for commercial drivers.

“This new pilot program on I-77 Express will be a gamechanger for many businesses in our area,’’ I-77 Mobility Partners Chief Operations Officer David Hannon said in a press release. “When a business can move a product or travel to perform a service in a reliable drive time, it makes them more efficient.”

Toll rates for extended vehicles will be double the posted regular rates during most hours, and triple during morning and evening rush hours. I-77 Mobility Partners has posted a schedule of multipliers on its website. Regular toll rates range from 10 cents to $4.60 per segment, depending on the time of day and segment. More info at https://www.i77express.com/pricing/

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