ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Seventy years of toll booths in New York will be finished with the flip of one switch this Fall.
“It’ll all happen on a Saturday night. The entire system, all at once,” says New York State Thruway Authority Operations Deputy Director Eric Christensen.
He says the $355 million cashless tolling project is in the final stretch. Gantries equipped with cameras, motion sensors, lights and monitors now span all 58 entry and exit points along the Thruway.
“The last one will be going up tonight or tomorrow and then there will be a total of 70 gantries installed,” Christensen explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
He says the Thruway Authority will announce the official start date after a 30 day test run of the network and equipment. When it’s ready, he says cashless tolling will be more convenient, better for the environment, and safer.
“Vehicles are jockeying for position to get in the toll plaza. There’s a lot of fender bender accidents that happen. When we reduce all that movement, we will reduce every accident at the toll plaza today and make it safer for all motorists,” Christensen says.
There are 1,200 toll booth operators across the New York system. Christensen says they were given notice of the project back in 2018 and have since been offered college incentives, job retraining, and transfers to other departments within New York State.
“We’re very proud of the way we’ve worked with our operators to provide for them,” he says.
Only 75 percent of Thruway drivers use EZ Pass, so the state will launch a campaign encouraging drivers to use this more effective route come cashless tolling. Without a pass, you’ll get a collections letter in the mail and they’ll be sure you face the consequences if you don’t pay up.
“We can suspend New York State registrations if they have a failure to pay their tolls. We have an agreement with Massachusetts, so we can suspend Massachusetts drivers as well,” Christensen explains.
He also adds toll amounts will not change from the current ticketed system.