The Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO) voted Wednesday night to begin the search for a private company to convert existing HOV lanes along I-77 in Charlotte, N.C., into new toll lanes. The purpose of the lanes is to relieve rush-hour congestion on the highway and increase funding for future road construction projects.
Initial construction will focus on the stretch of I-77 between I-85 and I-485, with the entire project tab expected to be approximately $60 million; one-third of the total will come from existing tolls and bonds. MUMPO officials say the new lanes are being added to increase funding for future road construction projects and relieve rush-hour congestion on I-77.
The new lanes would be intended for use by cars carrying one or two people; actual toll prices would be dependent on traffic conditions throughout the day.
Some controversy is expected due to the decision to have the lanes privately built and operated. MUMPO and city officials in Raleigh will begin soliciting firms in July; construction is not expected to start until 2015.