Groundbreaking for NC's first toll road

RALEIGH The ceremony was held at the far western end of NC 540 where the road dead ends at the NC 55 exit.

The Triangle Expressway, as it will be called, will cover Wake and Durham counties. It will cost more than $1 billion for build but is paid for by bond proceeds and federal loans.

The first section of the 19-mile toll road will go from the Durham Freeway at I-40 to the current NC 540 near Davis Drive. It is expected to be completed in early 2011. The remaining stretch leading to Holly Springs should be finished in 2012.

That's great news for some commuters.

Deborah Goff and Claire Szaz work in the same office in RTP. Both live in the Cary/Apex area and take the same congested route to work.

Goff says there is a lot of congestion traveling west on I-40 from about 7:45 to 8:30 a.m.

State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti estimates that the project will create or preserve 30,000 jobs.

And for those wondering about how much it will cost them for the hassle free commute -- Turnpike Authority officials say although toll rates have not been set, they are likely to be between 13 and 15 cents a mile.

"I would have to consider, you know, in terms of the expense whether I could afford it or not," Goff said. "But I think I could.

Drivers will not have to worry about keeping change in their cars. Instead, they will be charged through an electronic transponder that they keep in their cars or through cameras that will use license plate information to mail a bill.

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