Triangle Expressway Opens This Week – Get a Transponder

Cary, NC – As construction continues to plow south on 540 toward Holly Springs, a spur road called the Triangle Expressway is set to open this week.

Tri Ex

The Triangle Expressway, or Tri Ex, extends NC-147 south to a new stretch of 540.

Currently, NC-147, also called the Durham Expressway, runs from I-40 north to the City of Medicine. Tri Ex will extend 147 to the south, connecting up with 540 between Davis Drive and Chapel Hill Road (NC 54).

The Benefits of Tri Ex

Now, if you are traveling from western Cary and points to the south (Apex, Holly Springs), you’ll be able to completely avoid I-40 on the route to Durham.

For rush hour commuters to and from the Bull City, this will prove an enormous time saver.

As well, Tri Ex will save on mileage (and therefore gas) by eliminating a dog-leg to the east to hook-up with I-40.

Tri Ex Opens This Week

The Triangle Expressway opens on Thursday, December 8, 2011.

Try it for free until January 3, 2012.

Tolls Start January 3

The tolls get activated on January 3, 2011.

Tri Ex will not have any toll booths. Enter and exit like any other freeway without stopping to pay any money.

The tolling on Tri Ex is automated. Special scanners look for a transponder on your car. If you don’t have a transponder, the scanners will grab your license plate and you’ll get a bill in the mail.

Toll Rates

The trip from 540 up to NC-147 will cost about 50¢ for drivers with a transponder and 77¢ without.

That translates into about 15¢ per mile, consistent will toll roads in other states.

Get a Transponder

Even if you only anticipate the occasional trip up Tri Ex, why not get a transponder?

NC QuickPass Transponders come in three varieties (sticker, hardcase, and exterior mounted). Most individuals will want to get the sticker.

The sticker costs $5.00. You also will be required to give NC Quick Pass your credit card info and deposit $20 in your toll account.

Sign up online to get your transponder. It just takes five minutes and you’ll get the transponder in the mail in a few days.

One transponder per vehicle (no sharing). Have the following ready when you sign up:

  • Vehicle year, make and model
  • License plate number
  • Credit card

How About 540?

NC-540 will remain free to travel until the project is completed in late 2012 or early 2013.

Your transponder will work on 540 once those tolls are activated.

More Info

For more information, visit:

7 replies
  1. Not Happy
    Not Happy says:

    This happened to me this week too. 6 weeks after my trip to Cary in March, I get a strange credit card charge from the rental car company for $31. Their answer – that’s a toll charge. I’m sure I didn’t use $31 on Triangle Roads in the one or two times I drove on it.
    On the subject of which rental car companies would do this, my wife remarked “all of them”. Why wouldn’t they take this opportunity to be greedy. They’ll sell you a thing to avoid the toll for $30, or you can pay the penalties/etc, amounting to about $30.
    The toll thing is great for funding roads, but there is this unintended consequence of alianating out-of-state visitors who rent cars by allowing rental agencies to play games.
    How about NC decides to not charge rental cars? Or if the few extra dollars that would be lost is so essential – how about charging rental car companies a set fee that can’t be passed on to the customer in out-of-proportion front-end or back-end charges?

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      Egregious overreach. Not the first time I’ve heard about it. Forwarding your comments to NC Sec of Transportation Tony Tata.

      • Not Happy
        Not Happy says:

        Thanks for the quick reply and the forward. Have to say that other than the toll thing, Cary and the surrounding areas were wonderful. Looks like a great place to live.

  2. David
    David says:

    This is ridiculous I rented a car at the Durham airport, and didn’t get the EZ pass because I had no idea the route was electronic. I am a visitor to the state, and I thought I could physically pay the toll.

    Then when I returned my car, I told them I went through the area, but I had no way to pay. They told me to go online to pay.

    Well there is NO WAY to pay online!

    SO now I’m going to get charged an extra 25 dollars by the rental car company because I have NO WAY to pay the toll.

    Talk about fleecing visitors from out of state. Ridiculous.

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      Thanks for sharing this info, David. $25 as an upcharge for using our one, short toll road seems egregious. I’m sure readers of this publication would like to know which rental car company is ripping off visitors to our area. What was the rental car company?

  3. Abhay Datta
    Abhay Datta says:

    Today June 25th around 7:30 am by mistake I drove via Triange Expressway NC-54 to Davis street. It may be near exit # 5. I have E-Zpass from IL. How I will pay? My car is Toyota Camry License plate# H36 3921. You can call me 847 340 9655.

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      Abhay – If you don’t have a valid NC transponder, they will send you a bill in the mail.

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