PA Turnpike has begun building final phase of All-Electronic Tolling (AET) implementation with new Open Road Tolling (ORT) technique for free-flowing mode of collecting without plazas or tollbooths

Having to slow your vehicle to 15mph to pass through the toll booths on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will soon be a thing of the past. The PA Turnpike Commission has entered the final phase of implementing All-Electronic Tolling by installing an electronic cashless overhead system that drivers pass under at highway speed with no need to slow down and pass through a booth.

The commission said work is underway "to relocate tolling points in eastern PA from their current interchange locations. New highway-speed collection points are being built along the roadway between interchanges using a technique called Open Road Tolling (ORT) – a cashless, free-flowing mode of collecting tolls without traditional toll plazas or tollbooths."

Learn how the open road toll zone construction sequence works by watching this video and reading the summary from the PA Turnpike here.

Drivers will pass under structures called gantries that are located on the Turnpike between exit and entry points. The equipment in the gantry and in the road "identifies and classifies vehicles and processes E-ZPass and Toll By Plate payments," according to the Turnpike Commission.

The electronic tolling project was started 13 years ago with four pilot projects launched between 2016 and 2019 and the remaining parts of of the Turnpike converted to electronic tolling through 2020. This Open Road Tolling component is the final stage of implementation and the "culmination of the PA Turnpike's decade-long journey to modernize operations and meet customer expectations for seamless, non-stop travel," said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. "ORT is a safer, more convenient way for customers to travel and represents the future of toll collection worldwide."

The commission says that Open Road Tolling is safer for drivers and Turnpike employees, safer for the environment, allows access points to be added more easily and at at lower cost, and will save the Turnpike $75 million per year.

Construction is underway on 19 gantries with small utility buildings east of the Reading interchange (Exit 286) to the New Jersey line and along the entire Northeastern Extension (I-476). The Easter ORT system will go live in 2025 and the remaining system for central and western PA Turnpike roadway is expected to be built beginning in 2025 with an anticipated go-live date in 2027.

In January 2023, tolls increased by 5% to meet funding and capital-improvement obligations. The Commission's funding plan to finance debt to meet the Act 44 mandate for years to come calls for increases of 5% through 2025 based on current projections, with a goal to hold annual increases to just 3% beginning in 2028. According to the Commission, "the most common toll for a passenger vehicle increased from from $1.70 to $1.80 for E-ZPass customers and from $4.10 to $4.40 for Toll By Plate customers."

Remember: E-ZPass readers – chosen by about 86% of travelers – offers the lowest rates.


Source: PennLive