- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A judge has refused to block plans to create toll lanes on Interstate 77 from Charlotte to Mooresville.

Multiple media outlets reported that Judge W. Osmond Smith III on Thursday refused to immediately stop plans for the toll lanes to widen the highway.

The group Widen I77 had asked Smith to stop $655 million project to create toll lanes on the road. Widen I77 had asked both for a temporary blocking of the project and a permanent order against the idea. Smith’s ruling rejected the temporary request.

“Our request for a permanent injunction remains alive, and we will be meeting with counsel and as a group to discuss next steps,” the group said in a statement.

The project calls for Cintra US to pay most of the construction costs and, for 50 years, to maintain and operate the lanes while collecting most of the toll revenue. Toll amounts have yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, a Charlotte committee voted Thursday against setting up a carpool lane on the widened I-485 in southern Charlotte. The panel says the benefit would not be worth the $1 million it would cost to create the carpool lane on the already widened highway.

“There would be minimal benefit to the motoring public,” said Danny Pleasant of the city of Charlotte, who chairs the committee that reviewed the idea.

The state transportation department has plans to use the extra pavements to create an express toll lane from I-77 to U.S. 74. Work on the toll lane project could begin as early as May 2016 and could be finished as early as 2019.


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