CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Sunday will mark a major milestone as work continues on the controversial I-77 toll lane project.

Sunday will be the day that the North Carolina Department of Transportation will transfer responsibility for operations and maintenance along the entire route of the project to I-77 Mobility Partners, the private company that is building the new lanes.

The transfer is happening even as those opposed to the toll lanes try to stop it.

Jen Thompson, the spokesperson for the NCDOT explained why the transfer is happening now.

“We were waiting for a good half-way point. This is the middle point for construction and a time for the transition to take place.,” she said.

In a release, I-77 Mobility Partners said, “The maintenance team will provide roadway and right of way maintenance, including mowing, debris cleanup, and road repair.”

Jean Leier who is a spokesperson for Mobility Partners, added, “We will also be providing 24/7 roadside assistance.

The company will put its own vehicles along the construction route to help motorists who breakdown or who have other needs.

The company trucks will replace the State IMAP trucks and will be clearly marked with the I-77 Mobility Partners logo on the driver and passenger-side doors.

Police will continue to patrol the corridor and respond to crashes or other emergencies.

IN the winter, plowing operation will still be done by the DOT.

“Winter weather, snow and ice, that will be by our forces and contract forces,” said Thompson

There have been a number of complaints about construction debris on the road as work progresses along the 26-mile stretch.

Responsibility for preventing such incidents or cleaning up will now rest with Mobility Partners.

Said Leir from Mobility Partners, “Our crews have been in training for a couple of months already, getting ready for this. In house training and field training, so they are ready to go on Sunday.”

Thompson said NCDOT would still monitor the project.

“Our inspection staff is still out there in full force monitoring the work that is continuing to go on.”

The toll lane project is on schedule to be completed late next year.