CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - I-77 Mobility Partners announced Saturday it has completed the final section of the I-77 Express toll lanes, which means it has finally been completed four years after work began.
The southern section from Interstate 485 to Interstate 277 in uptown Charlotte opened at 8 p.m., according to a press release form I-77 Mobility Partners, the subsidiary of Spain-based contractor Cintra.
Drivers will now be able to use all 26-miles of I-77 Express.
John Doyle drives 77 every day for work. He says the construction has made traffic “horrible” for the years it has persisted, but says things are better since some of the lanes opened this year.
“Traffic has improved tremendously. Even if people aren’t in the toll lanes it’s generally much better than it used to be. So now it being opened all the way to Uptown it should make the trip shorter.”
"Since I-77 Express opened on June 1 in the Lake Norman area, more than 2.7 million trips have been taken on the express lanes by over 515,000 different vehicles,” Javier Tamargo, CEO of I-77 Mobility Partners, said in a release. “We are proud to make this private investment to develop the first managed lanes in North Carolina. Through partnership with NCDOT and Sugar Creek Construction, we are able to deliver this project and other infrastructure improvements along the existing portion of I-77 sooner than traditional funding would have allowed for the State of North Carolina and motorists. I-77 Express adds a travel option to a key interstate corridor and a new component to the Charlotte region’s comprehensive transportation network.”
In October, NCDOT officials said they were reviewing requests for additional time to complete the project past its Nov. 1 deadline. Officials said liquidated damages of $10,000 per day for each uncompleted section of the project would begin being assessed on Friday, Nov. 1.
Work started on the lanes from Lake Norman to Charlotte in November 2015.
The lanes run adjacent to existing general purpose lanes. Drivers have the option of using the express lanes by paying a toll.
Dynamic pricing will begin December 1, I-77 Mobility Partners said, 180 days from the opening of I-77 Express on June 1. During dynamic mode, toll rates may change as often as every five minutes to accommodate changes in demand for I-77 Express. Toll rates will be based on segment length, time of day, and demand for I-77 Express.
I-77 Mobility Partners advise using NC Quick Pass transponder to pay for tolls. They also accept SunPass, Peace Pass and E-ZPass transponders. If you do not have a transponder cameras will capture an image of your vehicle’s license plate. NC Quick Pass will mail a bill to the vehicle’s registered owner through the Bill by Mail program. You can get a transponder set up here.