Local leaders work to find solution to I-77 toll lane controversy

- What can be done to deal with the I-77 toll lane controversy? It's a question many people have been asking even before construction started.

A group of local leaders is meeting with the North Carolina Transportation Secretary May 10 to share what it thinks should happen with the toll lane project and the contract with Cintra.

This week, on Thursday, May 3, a member of the I-77 Advisory Group is holding a town hall meeting to explain to residents what options are on the table.

MaryLou Richardson plans to attend the meeting Thursday night. She works at Novant Health in Huntersville.

"We have patients there that have missed appointments because they cannot get there because of traffic."

A story all too common for the people who live near Interstate 77. Many, like Nils Lucander, aren't happy about the future toll lanes.

"They're not widening the road to give more road to everybody. They're only widening the road to give reliable travel time to people willing to spend the money to get into those lanes."

Construction on the I-77 toll lanes is set to wrap up by the end of 2018. However, the contract with the private company Cintra could be on the chopping block before it's finished.

The I-77 Advisory Group is meeting with the North Carolina Transportation Secretary next Thursday afternoon from 1:00-3:00 at the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. The group is set to recommend what to do with the contract with Cintra and the toll lanes themselves.

Cornelius Town Commissioner Kurt Naas is a member of the I-77 Advisory Group.

"There are two viable proposals. One is complete and delete. That where we get rid of the contract and revert all of it to general purpose lanes. The other is called a complete and modify. We complete the project, terminate the contract, and keep a pair of toll lanes up to exit 28 as publicly operated toll lanes."

Commissioner Naas will hold the town hall meeting Thursday, May 3 at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in Mooresville at 7:00 p.m.

Naas says the I-77 Advisory Group of local leaders will continue meet with the North Carolina Transportation Secretary throughout the summer to delve deeper into the recommendations the group will make next week.

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