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The N.C. Department of Transportation, together with I-77 Mobility Partners, would like to clarify some misinformation circulating about the I-77 Express Lanes project.

NCDOT has learned of a planned protest regarding the ability to use the express lanes for evacuation in the event of an emergency at the McGuire Nuclear Station or during other emergencies.

NCDOT can suspend tolling immediately, independent of the timing of a formal emergency or evacuation declaration. This can be issued locally by the Division Engineer's office to further expedite such suspension.

Additionally, the completion of the additional lanes through this project will help tremendously in the case of a formal emergency or evacuation declaration.

Section 3.5, located on page 8 of NCDOT’s comprehensive agreement with Cintra, details the Suspension of Tolls:

3.5 Suspension of Tolls

3.5.1 In the event NCDOT or the State designates the Project or a portion of the Project (a) for immediate use as an Emergency evacuation route, (b) as a route to respond to a disaster proclaimed by the Governor of North Carolina or his/her designee or to respond to an Emergency, or (c) as a route to respond to a Presidential Disaster Declaration, NCDOT shall have the right to order immediate suspension of tolling of the HOT Lanes or any portion of the HOT Lanes. Developer shall be entitled to compensation subject to satisfying the requirements of Article 13 for the loss of Toll Revenues or the increase in costs and expenses attributable to such order; provided, however, that NCDOT shall have no liability to Developer, including any obligation to compensate Developer, under this Section 3.5.1 if NCDOT:

3.5.1.1 Concurrently suspends tolling on all other NCDOT-operated tolled facilities and other tolled facilities over which NCDOT has the authority to order such suspension that are situated to directly facilitate travel from the area designated for evacuation or from the proclaimed disaster area; and

3.5.1.2 Lifts such order as soon as the need to use the Project for evacuation or disaster response ceases.

3.5.2 NCDOT shall have the right to order immediate suspension of tolling on any portion of the HOT Lanes to minimize disruption to the traveling public caused by an Unavailability Event. In no event shall Developer be entitled to compensation for the loss of Toll Revenues or the increase in costs and expenses attributable to such order. If NCDOT suspends tolling under this Section 3.5.2, the time for assessing liquidated damages under Table 2-01 of Exhibit 14 shall not commence until such Unavailability Event resulting in such suspension exceeds 4 hours.

NCDOT and I-77 Mobility Partners support the rights of concerned citizens to voice their concerns, but we feel it is important to correct misleading information.

The I-77 Express Lanes will provide long-awaited infrastructure improvements to 26 miles of I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville, and will expand the number of options available to drivers, which assists in making commuting choices and economical decisions for commuters. When the project is complete in 2018, the I-77 Express Lanes will increase the current road capacity in this corridor, allowing more cars that can be safely and efficiently accommodated.
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