North Carolina takes the initial step toward its first toll road Wednesday. The N.C. Turnpike Authority will break ground at 10 a.m. Wednesday on the Triangle Expressway in Wake and Durham counties.
The event will be held at the far western end of N.C. 540, where the road dead ends at the N.C. 55 exit.
The road will coast just over $1 billion, paid for by bond proceeds and federal loans. State Transportation Secretary Gene Conti estimates that the project will create or preserve 30,000 jobs.
The expressway is almost 19 miles and comprised of three segments: Western Wake Freeway, Triangle Parkway and the existing N.C. 540 between N.C. 55 and N.C. 54. The parkway is expected to open to traffic in 2011 and the freeway a year later.
Meanwhile, Conti told a crowd in Wilson Tuesday that North Carolina has hired two consulting firms to look at adding tolls to Interstate 95 in North Carolina.
Multiple media outlets report Conti could not say where the tolls may go up. The studies from the firms are expected next summer.