North Carolina breaks ground on first toll road

| 8/25/2009

Construction is under way on North Carolina’s first toll road.

The North Carolina Turnpike Authority has broken ground on the 18.8-mile Triangle Expressway, a three-stage project with an estimated cost of just under $1 billion.

Funding comes from a combination of sources, which include a $386 million federal loan to be repaid from toll proceeds and $600 million in bonds. North Carolina will also kick in money that was previously diverted from the state’s highway trust fund.

Toll rates for trucks have not been set, but officials estimate 13 cents to 15 cents per mile for passenger vehicles.

The project includes two new highway segments called the Triangle Parkway and Western Wake Parkway. It also will add tolls to an existing 3-mile portion of state Highway 540, which was constructed with money from state fuel taxes.

The first phase, the 3.4-mile Triangle Parkway, is scheduled to open in 2010. The 12.5-mile Western Wake Parkway and the 2.9-mile state Highway 540 portion are scheduled to open in 2011. All are contiguous and connect Interstate 40 to downtown Raleigh.

– By David Tanner, staff writer