Charlotte area to get its first toll road to bypass busy U.S. 74

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Updated Nov 7, 2018

The Charlotte, North Carolina, area will soon get its first toll road.

The $731 million Monroe Expressway is scheduled to open November 27, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The N.C. Turnpike Authority will oversee operation of the all-electric toll system, which creates a 20-mile, six-lane bypass to busy U.S. 74 between Mecklenburg and Union counties. The same technology is currently used on the Triangle Expressway in Raleigh, which is the state’s first and only other toll road.

The authority says it is the first agency in the country to read all three transponder protocols being identified for national tolling interoperability, including E-Z Pass. National interoperability would allow a driver’s transponder to work on any state’s tolling system. Currently, though, states use various systems that are not all compatible.

The Alliance for Toll Interoperability reports that E-Z Pass can be used along the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina and westward to Illinois.

The North Carolina authority is giving out free NC Quick Pass transponder stickers ahead of the road’s opening. The free transponder sticker is also compatible with Florida’s SunPass and Georgia’s Peach Pass systems.

The authority is also selling E-ZPass interoperable Quick Pass transponders, which can also be used in other states with E-Z Pass systems, at a reduced cost.

With the NC Quick Pass, drivers can pay for tolls on the Monroe Expressway through a prepaid transponder account or receive a bill in the mail. Those with prepaid accounts will have their tolls automatically deducted and will receive a 35-percent discount. For example, a one-way trip on the expressway will cost $2.54 with an NC Quick Pass prepaid account, but it will cost $3.92 if the driver is billed, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

A map of the tolled Monroe Expressway scheduled to open later the month. Credit: NCDOTA map of the tolled Monroe Expressway scheduled to open later the month. Credit: NCDOT