HICKORY – Orange barrels are set to make an appearance on Interstate 77 in the coming months. But the ubiquitous sign of construction will eventually lead to faster, more predictable travel times for drivers on I-77 between exit 11 in Mecklenburg County to N.C. 150 (Exit 36) in Iredell County.
Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright, a member of the N.C. Local Government Commission, said the NCLGC signed off on $100 million in private activity bonds for the I-77 Express Lanes project on April 28. The project’s main goal is to convert the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane to an express lane and construct an additional express lane next to the existing lane.
A private activity bond is one issued by a local or state government to a private entity. The $100 million in private activity bonds will be marketed to the I-77 Mobility Partners and the private entities making up those partners must pay them back. The original plan called for $170 in North Carolina Department of Transportation funds. However, NCDOT now estimates a total state contribution of $90 million.
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