North Carolina studying tolls for I-95

| 8/18/2009

Transportation officials in North Carolina have hired consultants  to study the feasibility of converting I-95 into a toll road.

Interstate 95, a heavily traveled truck route from Florida to Maine, has been the subject of tolls in the past, but the conversation got a bit more serious earlier this month when the North Carolina Department of Transportation hired two consulting firms, PBS&J and Baker Engineering, to conduct the feasibility study. The cost of the study is $6.4 million.

“What that’s going to do is evaluate the required capacity, the safety and the preservation requirements for the I-95 corridor from the South Carolina state line in the southern end to the Virginia state line in the northern end,” NCDOT Spokeswoman Dara Demi told Land Line on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Demi said the tolling of existing lanes will be considered along with other options, which include no tolls and tolling new capacity only.

As truckers know, I-95 is congested in many areas. Demi said the study will shed light on how to deal with capacity issues and moving goods and services from point A to point B.

“We see the congestion in North Carolina. I’m sure other states see it as well, and we realize that we need to do something about that,” she said. “We’re just trying to find out what the most financially feasible way to go about doing that is.”

NCDOT is a member of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, a group consisting of federal, state and local transportation officials, public safety agencies and stakeholders in the entire north-south corridor.

The coalition recommends tolling be considered to pay for reconstruction and to reduce congestion.

– By David Tanner, staff writer