North Carolina tolling I-95 being studied
By Peter Samuel
North Carolina DOT has hired PBS&J and Baker to do an I-95 Corridor Plan & Finance study. The study to be completed by the fall of 2011 will look at requirements for maintaining and improving the interstate, project future traffic, conduct public outreach and examine financing options including tolls.
WRAL television today reported Robert Canales, NCDOT coordinator for strategic initiatives as citing a legislative committee in 2008 that concluded tolling was the best option and as saying: "I think their proposal carries weight."
Earlier estimates put the funding needed to modernize NC/I-95 at $5b to $6b. The highway is 293km or 182 miles long. The highway carries a lot of interstate traffic being the major route between the northeast/mid-Atlantic states and Florida.
Unlike the situation in many states to the north and south it does not pass through any major North Carolina cities so local NC traffic is relatively light. The closest it gets to Raleigh for example is 45km (28 miles), well beyond the fringe of metro development. Most development in the Raleigh area has been west and northwest toward Durham and Chapel Hill - away from I-95.
NC/I-95 roughly parallels the Atlantic coast but well inland 100 to 200km (60 to 120 miles).
The Baker/PBSJ study has been budgeted at $6.4m.
Toll financing has been considered previously - in 2002 and 2006 - without result. The need may now prove more pressing.
Both state and federal support would be needed.
Toll projects in NC
North Carolina has three toll projects under way:
- Triangle Parkway in Raleigh
- Garden Parkway, Charlotte
- Mid Currituck Bridge on the Outer Banks