I-77 Mobility Partners

I-77 toll lanes map at I-277.
I-77 Mobility Partners

Toll-lane construction has been going on for a year now on I-77 from Huntersville to Mooresville. Now it's starting on the stretch of I-77 near uptown Charlotte. That means lane closures and traffic shifts ahead.

Exit 23 on I-77 toll lane construction
David Boraks / WFAE

The debate over optional toll lanes on I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville has played out in court, in local elections, and at the Statehouse over the past few years. Now, the lanes are taking shape.

Updated 5:35 p.m.
State Rep. Charles Jeter of Huntersville says he’ll file a bill when the legislature’s short session opens Monday to cancel the NCDOT’s contract to add toll lanes to I-77. But Senate Leader Phil Berger said later he doesn't see any need to do that. 

Jeter says he promised to file the bill back in January when he urged Charlotte City Council to oppose the contact with Spain-based Cintra. The council reaffirmed its support, despite an outcry against tolls from the Lake Norman area north of Charlotte.

John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer

The bankruptcy filing of a Texas toll road operator this week has state transportation officials reassessing plans for toll lanes on I-77. And toll opponents jumped on the news.

Opponents who want the state to cancel plans for widening I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville with toll lanes argue similar projects haven’t attracted the traffic and revenues expected.

Mark Hames / Charlotte Observer

The battle over toll lanes on I-77 north of Charlotte has taken another twist.  State officials say they’ll re-assess the toll-lane plan for after a sister company of the NCDOT’s contractor filed bankruptcy in Texas. 

NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson said last night he will go to Texas Monday to meet with transportation officials there to find out more about the bankruptcy. Gov. Pat McCrory's office announced the move in a statement Wednesday night, attributed to Tennyson: 

nick tennyson
David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina’s transportation secretary says he’s willing to renegotiate parts of the DOT’s contract with a private company to add toll lanes on I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville. Nick Tennyson made the offer in a letter last week to local leaders on the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, which sets transportation policy for the region.

David Boraks / WFAE

Regional leaders Wednesday night reaffirmed a policy of using toll lanes to expand highways in the Charlotte area. The vote by the Charlotte Regional transportation Planning Organization effectively clears the way for tolls on I-77, and for work on expansion of the highway to begin in earnest.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

It was a crucial vote about one of the region’s most congested roadways. The Charlotte City Council voted twice Monday night to support toll lanes around the region. And specifically the project on I-77 North now under construction. That vote was 7 to 4. This despite many council members accusing State officials of issuing financial threats if they didn’t approve the project.

http://www.ncdot.gov

Drivers will have to deal with construction for a while in addition to the regular rush-hour backups on I-77 north of Charlotte. Work began Monday night on a 3-year, $648 million project to widen a 26-mile section of the road with toll lanes.

And if you’ve been following the debate on this project, you know it’s very controversial. Even as construction begins, opponents are fighting to halt it. WFAE’s David Boraks joins All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey now.


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