Portion of I-77 to open tomorrow, officials say

It's been a long time coming, but a northern section of I-77 is scheduled to open on Saturday, officials say. 

I-77 Mobility Partners announced on Friday that the section of the highway from Hambright Road to Exit 36 in Mooresville will open on June 1 at 10 a.m. This will be the first part of the express lanes open to drivers. 

“We are excited for drivers to start using this section of the express lanes, as we offer a new transportation choice along the I-77 corridor,” said I-77 Mobility Partners CEO Javier Tamargo. “The private investment in I-77 Express has been instrumental to deliver this project and other infrastructure improvements along the existing portion of I-77 sooner for the State of North Carolina and motorists.”

As part of the project, drivers will have the option to use the express lanes-- for a fee-- the general purpose lanes, or a combination of both to improve traffic and wait times. 

“I hate it. Every morning, every evening, every afternoon, traffic jam! Parking lot!” said Randy Mungo.

He used to drive the interstate everyday going to work in Moorseville. Now, he is not exactly excited about the express lanes opening.

“This should have been done long before the traffic ever got bad.” 

Every quarter mile along the express lanes will indicate the toll rate applicable to that segment.

The toll rate displayed when entering I-77 Express is the price motorists will be charged for that segment, but during the first 180 days of operations, rates are defined for every 30-minute period of each day and will not change in real time.

During this time, customers will also receive a promotional rate, which is an average 25 percent rate off toll rates. If you want to learn more about the toll rates click here.

After the first 180 days of operation, dynamic pricing will take effect, meaning that toll rates may change as often as every five minutes to accommodate changes in demand on the road. Those rates will be based on segment length, time of day.

I-77 Mobility partners say they hope this will allow drivers to get used to the tolls, and know the applicable rate for their trip beforehand. 

Mungo, however, isn't convinced the opening of the lanes will be worth all of the trouble. 

"All the problems on 77 cause problems on other roads,” he said. 

The NC Quick Pass is the fastest, easiest way to pay the toll, according to I-77 Mobility Partners. If you do not use a transponder, cameras will take a picture of your license plate and NC Quick Pass will mail a bill to the registered owner.

To receive the latest information on I-77 Express, we encourage you to sign up for e-communications here. To take a virtual ride on I-77, click here.