NCDOT holds meeting on I-485 toll lanes

Public meeting with NCDOT garners many questions for officials

MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) - A major effort to build a network of toll lanes across the Charlotte area is underway.

Thursday night, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) held a public meeting in Matthews to answer questions about the I-485 express lane project which will run from I-77 to US 74.

Last week, the green light was given for the project by the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization. Although, it will be years until the project is completed, the questions are already coming.

Jordan-Ashley Walker with NCDOT says they're asked a lot if traveling in the toll lanes will be mandatory.

"If you don't want to pay a toll, you can chose to stay in the general purpose lanes," Walker said.

Walker says the multi-million dollar project will offer drivers an option to get from point A to point B a little quicker.

"You can guarantee that reliable travel time by putting a price on using these lanes and that helps manage the number of people using each lane," Walker said. 

NCDOT's public meetings are being held across the area to help drivers figure what this means for them.  

Spokesperson for the Town of Matthews, Jen Thompson, says her town is looking forward to the toll lanes.

"We have a lot of people in Matthews that commute to other parts of the area, that work. And they want to get home to their families," Thompson said. 

Work should begin in the next few years on the I-485 express lanes, which a part of a greater toll network project across the Charlotte region.

Some residents were happy to see the progress, but Gail McDowell, who lives off Rea Road, came out Thursday hoping to hear more.

“I'm disappointed in the time frame. I expected in my mind I was thinking it would be six months to a year,” McDowell said. 

McDowell may be used to fighting heavy traffic, but she wants NCDOT to do more to help curb congestion.

“I have no problem paying a toll if it will help pay for the improvements to the highway, get it done faster,” McDowell said. 

Construction is expected to begin on this phase in 2017. 

If you missed tonight's meeting, you can submit comments online at

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