• Contract details layout, construction of proposed I-77 toll lane

    By: Scott Wickersham


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Transportation released contract information on the Interstate 77 toll lane project from Mooresville to uptown Charlotte between the state and developer Cintra.

    LINK: Toll lane documents:
    The project involves a massive amount of construction with new lanes, overpasses and highway interchanges, according to the 1,500-page contract with Cintra.       
    The developer has already invested a tremendous amount of time and money in the planned project.
    The toll lanes would be in five sections.
    Drivers will be able to get on and off where it starts on Interstate 277 in uptown at Brevard Street, also at La Salle Street, the Cindy Lane overpass, just north of Interstate 485, Catawba Avenue and the end of the toll lanes near Plaza Drive.
    Plans show the access points as 2,000-foot stretches where the barrier wall ends allowing drivers to merge in and out of the toll lanes.
    Cintra will install electronic signs that show the current toll rate that will be collected electronically from sensors in your car.
    If you don’t have a sensor they take a picture of your license plate and mail you a bill.
    Cintra will have to build a walk-in service center and maintenance center for accidents or emergencies.
    To minimize effects on traffic, they plan to build ramps from overpasses to the middle of the highway so construction equipment can stay off the highway.
    The contract doesn't really address financials which the state and Cintra as discussions continue.
    However, it does say Cintra is solely responsible for paying back all the loans.
    But taxpayers could incur higher costs because of changes in law, federal loans falling through, rising interest rates or a higher cost to purchase land for the new lanes.
    If the DOT agrees to a deal with Cintra they would spend most of 2015 buying the land and doing survey work to start construction in 2016.
    Even if you don’t live in the Mooreseville, the work may affect you in a big way if you travel uptown tying up the northside of I-277.
    Construction crews also plan to have a staging and recycling area set up near Graham Street uptown.
    But a bill just filed in Raleigh by an Iredell County representative could put a halt to those construction plans.
    Representative Robert Brawley introduced legislation, calling for a statewide November ballot referendum about toll roads.
    It would ask voters if they are in favor or against toll roads being built.

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