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After four years of construction-related headaches, the final stretch of Interstate 77 toll lanes opened Saturday.

Drivers traveling between Lake Norman and uptown Charlotte may now use all 26 miles of express lanes — provided they’re willing to pay. The final stretch, about 11.5 miles long, opened Saturday between uptown Charlotte and I-485 near Huntersville.

Why it matters: For decades now, Charlotte has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and along with that growth has come traffic congestion. The new toll lanes are meant to address the growing congestion on I-77.

Two toll lanes run in each direction between uptown Charlotte and Exit 28 in Cornelius. Between Cornelius and Exit 36 (N.C. 150), one express lane was added in each direction.

I-77 express lanes in the Lake Norman area opened in June, and since then, more than 515,000 different vehicles have taken more than 2.7 million trips on that stretch, according to I-77 Mobility Partners, the chief contractor, which built the toll lanes under a 50-year operating agreement with the state.

Faster commutes: The $647 million project started in November 2015 and stretches from N.C. 150 in Mooresville to the Brookshire Freeway/I-277 in Charlotte.

Click here to take a virtual tour of the new toll lanes.

Even before the final stretch opened, the additional lanes already were reducing commute times, according to I-77 Mobility Partners, the chief contractor. In October, average morning commute speeds increased by 15% over the same month last year, and afternoon commute speeds by 17%, the company said.

How they work: Drivers who use the toll lanes regularly may want to get a NC Quick Pass transponder. For drivers without a transponder, cameras will save an image of your license plate, and NC Quick Pass will mail a bill to the registered owner through its bill by mail program.

Read the rest to today’s Morning Brew.

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.