Skip to main content

Broken Record Time: NC looks at tolling I-95 (again)

It seems like every year for the past decade, a story about NCDOT looking at the possibility of tolling Interstate 95 comes out. The local news outlets pick it up, and you have a reporter in an orange vest asking motorists what they feel about the idea. The story dies until it comes up again the following year.

And now that ground has been broken on the state's first toll road - guess what highway story is in the news again? Tolling I-95.

It's the trial balloon that never lands!

Some background (because we haven't covered this issue here at the blog, yet):

Interstate 95 is the backbone of the East Coast - and most of its traffic through the Tar Heel State is through traffic. The highway is four lanes throughout - and a significant stretch of highway dates to the early 1960s if not earlier.

NCDOT officials admit and have plans to widen the highway to a minimum of six lanes, but like many other states - they don't have the funding. So tolling the route has been considered since at least 2001.

There has been debate on how the road would be tolled. Since most of the traffic on I-95 are out-of-state drivers passing through (or to) North Carolina, some have suggested only having toll booths at the state lines. Obviously, many are concerned that folks not wanting to pay the toll will jump off I-95 onto two lane US 301 to avoid the toll. That would hurt revenue and most likely make US 301 a traffic mess.

Other options include electronic tolling, staggered toll barriers throughout the state, and just about every other toll possibility imaginable. Toll rates have varied from $5 - $15 to travel I-95.

As mentioned earlier, the state does have plans to widen I-95 to six lanes. Projects like the rebuild of the Four Oaks Interchange (Exit 87) were constructed to accommodate a six lane I-95. Within the NCDOT STIP, widening I-95 from Eastover to Kenly has been programmed with some projects possibly beginning in 2013 or 2015. This widening would be piecemeal and similar to widening projects of I-85 and I-40. However, funding concerns has continually pushed any efforts to widen I-95 back...sometimes indefinitely.

So where are we now?

State Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti has stated in a number of different forums that the state will start a study on tolling I-95 next year. The length of the study was not announced. Don't expect seeing tolls on I-95 soon though, that's years away.

Of course there is that whole issue of getting federal approval for tolling the highway, and just ask Pennsylvania how well the proposal to toll I-80 through that state is going.

Comments

Anonymous said…
That's stupid. to toll I-95 when our tax payers already paid them off... that is gonna make other drivers not happy and dump traffic on US 301.. or any nearby highways, thats for sure.
Anonymous said…
It's inevitable that Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina will put tolls on I-95. The road is basically unchanged from the 1950's design, but it carries three or four times more traffic than it was designed for. None of these states can pay for the upgrades, which will probably cost over a billion dollars for the whole 450 miles.
Anonymous said…
Virginia used to have tolls on I-95 from Petersburg to Richmond and tolls were already removed.. if SC and NC decided to put up tolls on the state lines.. i cant imagine how nightmare the traffic will be when drivers decide to dump traffic on local US routes..

Popular posts from this blog

Hidden California State Route 710 and the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway

Infamous and the subject of much controversy the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway has long existed as a contentious topic regarding the completion of Interstate 710 and California State Route 710.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway effectively has been legislatively blocked the action only came after decades of controversy.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway is fairly well known what many don't know is that a small segment was actually constructed south Interstate 210 and the Foothill Freeway.  This disconnected segment of the Long Beach Freeway exists as the unsigned and largely hidden California State Route 710.  On June 29, 2022 the California Transportation Commission relinquished California State Route 710 to the city of Pasadena.  The blog cover above depicts a southward view on the completed Pasadena stub segment of the Long Beach Freeway which ends at California Boulevard.   Part 1; the history of the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freewa

Deer Isle Bridge in Maine

As graceful a bridge that I ever set my eyes upon, the Deer Isle Bridge (officially known as the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge) surprisingly caught my eye as I was driving around coastal Maine one Saturday afternoon. About 35 miles south of Bangor, Maine , the Deer Isle Bridge connects the Blue Hill Peninsula of Downeast Maine with Little Deer Isle over the Eggemoggin Reach on ME 15 between the towns of Sedgwick and Deer Isle . It should be noted that Little Deer Isle is connected to Deer Isle by way of a boulder lined causeway, and there is a storied regatta that takes place on the Eggemoggin Reach each summer. But the Deer Isle Bridge holds many stories, not just for the vacationers who spend part of their summer on Deer Isle or in nearby Stonington , but for the residents throughout the years and the folks who have had a hand bringing this vital link to life.   The Deer Isle Bridge was designed by David Steinman and built by the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville,

Paper Highways: Proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada

During February 1956 the State of Nevada in concurrence with the States of California and Arizona submitted a request to the American Association of State Highway Officials to establish US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas.  The proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have originated from mainline US Route 66 in Kingman Arizona and followed a multiplex of US Routes 93-466 to Las Vegas, Nevada.  From Las Vegas, Nevada the proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have multiplexed US Routes 91-466 back to mainline US Route 66 in Barstow, California.  The request to establish US Route 66 Alternate was denied during June 1956 due to it being completely multiplexed with other US Routes.  This blog will examine the timeline of the US Route 66 Alternate proposal to Las Vegas, Nevada. The history of the proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada On February 15, 1956, the Nevada State Highway Engineer in a letter to the American Association of State Highways Officials (AASHO) advising that six c