View Triangle Expressway in a larger map
After the first section of the Triangle Expressway opens in December, Research Triangle Park workers and other commuters will have a new decision to make at rush hour:
(A) Stick with the old route to work, which can get a little crowded at times, or
(B) pay a toll for what is supposed to be a quicker drive.
Which choice will you make? I’d like to hear from you today for a story I’m writing. Please e-mail me or call me at 919-829-4527, and don’t forget your contact info. [Belated 3/17/11 update: Thanks for the feedback! See 3/5/11 story with many more comments.]
The N.C. Turnpike Authority is about to approve initial toll rates that will average 15 cents a mile for commuters who use a windshield transponder called N.C. QuickPass, and 23 cents for everybody else in a 2-axle vehicle. (More axles mean higher tolls.) Video cameras will capture license plate numbers, and non-transponder users will receive monthly bills in the mail.
For the northern section of TriEx to open by the end of December, that works out to a toll of 30 to 82 cents per trip for transponder users, or 45 cents to $1.25 for other drivers -- depending on where you get on and off. This northern stretch is shaped like an upside-down capital T:
*The 3.4-mile Triangle Parkway, which extends the N.C. 147 Durham Freeway south through RTP to N.C. 540, will be marked with purple signs as Toll 147.
* The 2.8-mile section of the existing N.C. 540 between N.C. 54 and N.C. 55 will be marked in purple as Toll 540.
The remaining 12.6 miles from N.C. 55 at RTP to N.C. 55 at Holly Springs, also to be marked as Toll 540, is set to open at the end of 2012.