Fifteen miles of the I-77 Express Lanes opened Saturday between Huntersville and Mooresville.
David Boraks / WFAE

Toll lanes have been under construction for nearly four years on I-77 from Charlotte to the Lake Norman area. Over the weekend, the northern 15 miles of the project opened to traffic. Monday was the first weekday rush hour with the lanes. Some drivers took advantage of the faster commute, while toll lane opponents continued to fume about the whole idea. WFAE's "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn talked about all this with WFAE reporter David Boraks, who has been covering the project since the planning stages.  

Barriers separate free lanes from toll lanes (left) on I-77 north of Charlotte. The northern section of the toll lanes is scheduled to open to traffic on Saturday, June 1.
David Boraks / WFAE

After nearly four years of construction, and months of delays, the northern section of the I-77 toll lanes near Charlotte is scheduled to open Saturday morning, June 1. Beginning at 10 a.m., the I-77 Express Lanes will be open in both directions, from Exit 36 in Mooresville to Hambright Road in Huntersville.


The section of Interstate 40 closed by a mudslide near the Tennessee state line will remain shut down through at least Thursday.

An aerial view of the I-77 Express Lanes construction near uptown Charlotte in October shows a new westbound ramp under construction from I-277 westbound to I-77 southbound.
I-77 Mobility Partners

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019
A newly constructed ramp from I-277 westbound to I-77 southbound near uptown opened Monday afternoon. The old ramp closed last September and since then drivers have had to detour by going north on the Brookshire Freeway.  

Construction begins this summer on the Rodanthe Bridge, a 2-4 mile span that goes into Pamlico Sound to avoid Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

A federal appeals court has dismissed an appeal by an Outer Banks group that opposes plans for an elevated roadway in Pamlico Sound designed to avoid washouts on Hatteras Island's main artery. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2018 lower court ruling that let construction begin on the $145 million Rodanthe Bridge. 

Workers construct a ramp from I-277 to I-77 southbound near uptown Charlotte Monday.
David Boraks / WFAE

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says only the northern section of new toll lanes on I-77 north of uptown Charlotte will open as scheduled by year's end. The rest should be done by mid-year, according to the project's contractor, I-77 Mobility Partners, which blames the change on construction delays and additions to the project.

A stretch of the Monroe Expressway north of Monroe, which is nearing completion.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 9:09 p m.
After three and a half years of construction, the 20-mile Monroe Expressway will open to traffic on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The Union County road is the first highway toll project in the Charlotte area.

I-77 Mobility Partners leaders listened to speakers at a public hearing Thursday. From left: public affairs director Jean Leier, CEO Javier Tamargo and chief infrastructure officer David Hannon.
David Boraks / WFAE

A rush hour commute on all 26 miles of the toll lanes on I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville will cost up to $6.55 one way when the lanes open later this year - and more later on. The project's contractor announced the rates at a public hearing in Huntersville last night, and hinted that some sections of the project may not open on schedule.

Tolls on the I-77 Express Lanes north of Charlotte will be fixed for the first six months, then fluctuate with traffic volumes after that. An NCDOT video shows what rate signboards will look like.

The contractor building toll lanes on Interstate 77 north of Charlotte will unveil initial toll rates and hear public comments at a meeting Thursday night in Huntersville.

Bethlehem Church Road would be closed at the bridge, just west of Prince Road near Aquadale.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it wants to close a little-used bridge over the Long Creek in Stanly County because replacing it would cost too much.

This former high-occupancy lane over I-85 on I-77 southbound will be widened to carry two toll lanes.
David Boraks / WFAE

State Transportation Secretary James Trogdon will be in Cornelius Wednesday afternoon to brief the NCDOT's Local Advisory Group on options for modifying the controversial I-77 toll lanes project. The visit comes three months after most local officials in the group backed their own proposal: Buy out the $650 million contract with the private company building the lanes and convert one toll lane to a free lane.

David Hannon of I-77 Mobility Partners points to ramp construction at the I-277 and I-77 interchange in Charlotte during a tour this week.
David Boraks / WFAE

Construction crews still have lots of work to do before toll lanes can open on I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville. The question on commuters' minds is: Will they be ready as promised by the end of the year? 

Map shows NCDOT's planned widening and intersection improvements on N.C. 51-Matthews Township Parkway.

The state Department of Transportation is now seeking public comments on plans for intersection improvements and widening of North Carolina Highway 51, the Matthews Township Parkway in Matthews, from Sardis to Monroe Roads.

David Boraks/ WFAE

More than 200 residents attended a North Carolina Department of Transportation open house Wednesday night in Matthews to learn more about plans for toll lanes on Interstate 485 in south Charlotte. Another 250 people have filled out an online survey or left comments online.

So far, comments on the toll lanes are mixed.

Toll lanes would be built in the median of I-485 from I-77 to U.S. 74.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will hold public meetings this week on several projects to improve travel times on roads in south Charlotte – including toll lanes on I-485.

A conceptual drawing of what the Gateway Station could look like, from a November study.
Charlotte Area Transit System

City officials say they'll will seek proposals later this summer for a mixed-use "station district" development next to passenger rail tracks now under construction uptown.  A private developer could be chosen by the end of the year.

Workers build concrete barriers along I-77 north of Charlotte, as part of the I-77 Express Lanes project.
I-77 Mobility Partners

State legislation to fund a possible buyout or changes to the North Carolina Department of Transportation's I-77 toll lane project near Charlotte has died. That's according to state Sen. Jeff Tarte (R-Cornelius), who wrote a key amendment to provide the funding.  


Updated 11:40 p.m.
North Carolina lawmakers will have to iron out their differences on how to pay for a buyout or changes to the NCDOT's controversial contract for toll lanes on I-77 near Charlotte. That's after the House late Thursday failed to concur on Senate changes to a House transportation bill. 

An aerial view shows toll lane construction on I-77 at I-277 near uptown Charlotte.
I-77 Mobility Partners

  Updated 4:03 p.m.
North Carolina lawmakers say they've come up with a way to pay for canceling or modifying NCDOT's contract with a private company building toll lanes on I-77 north of Charlotte. But NCDOT officials have warned there may be problems with the idea.

Workers installed beams in late April for a new bridge over I-77 near LaSalle Street near uptown Charlotte.
I-77 Mobility Partners

Two state transportation policy changes — affecting light rail projects and the I-77 toll lanes — could become law as part of the state budget that passed the legislature Friday.