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Thruway Authority announces start of toll booth removal following successful conversion to cashless tolling

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Tue, Nov 17th 2020 09:35 am

Phase 2 of design-build project includes removal of former toll plazas on thruway’s ticketed system

Toll booths at 6 high-volume interchanges statewide to be removed in initial wave

Approximately 1,558,721 transactions recorded in first weekend of cashless tolling on thruway system

The New York State Thruway Authority on Monday announced the start of major deconstruction at 52 toll plazas (approximately 230 individual toll booths) on the thruway’s ticketed system following the successful conversion to cashless tolling on Saturday.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll marked the start of the second phase of the project at the former Williamsville toll barrier, which is one of six high-trafficked toll plazas statewide that will be the first to be removed. Approximately 20 million vehicles per year (more than 54,000 per day) traveled through the Williamsville toll barrier.

“As a native Western New Yorker, I have experienced firsthand the traffic backups the Williamsville and Lackawanna toll barriers can cause, especially following Bills games,” Hochul said. “When I started my career in public service on my local town board, I advocated for the toll barriers to be removed due to negative impacts including increased costs, the hassle of having to stop and pay tolls, and discouraging people from outside the area to travel and visit. Those days are quickly coming to an end with cashless tolling, which is already improving traffic flow, allowing motorists to get to their destinations without having to stop to pay a toll, reducing pollution to help combat climate change, and enhancing quality of life for Western New Yorkers and all New Yorkers across the state.”

Driscoll said, “Under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership, the Thruway Authority is modernizing our infrastructure with cashless tolling and benefiting millions of drivers each year by limiting traffic disruptions and reducing congestion. This is one of the largest projects in the thruway’s 66-year history and it has taken an unprecedented commitment from hundreds of thruway staff, tradespeople and contractors across the state.”

New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy, chairman of the New York State Senate Transportation Committee, said, "With the implementation of cashless tolls across New York, we're seeing significant investments in the accessibility and efficiency of our transportation networks, as well as an effort to mitigate unnecessary air pollution on highly trafficked roadways. New York is actively working to improve the experiences of millions of drivers, and this marks a substantial milestone in a greater effort to modernize our roads."​

For the safety and benefit of motorists, the contractor, Cashless Tolling Constructors LLC, is scheduling the removal and reconfiguration of the six high-volume toll plazas. The first locations to be removed include the Lackawanna toll barrier, the Williamsville toll barrier, Exit 45 (Rochester-Victor – I-490), Exit 25 (Schenectady – I-890), Exit 24 (Albany – I-87) and Canaan toll barrier (Berkshire Spur).

A press release said, “In the coming weeks, drivers should expect traffic shifts and increased construction activities near all toll plazas. Motorists should use caution while driving in these areas, as they will be active construction zones with 20 MPH posted speed limits through the toll booths. Traffic shifts will be conducted in phases and each shift will be in effect for approximately one week or more. Traffic shifts will be required until the entire plaza is removed, and the road is reconfigured for highway speed, open road tolling. 

“For example, the Williamsville toll barrier will be reduced from 12 lanes to six (three in each direction.) Crews will begin removing the five northern-most lanes. When completed, traffic traveling on I-90 west will be shifted to the right as crews remove the center portion of the toll plaza. In the final phase, the southern-most lanes will be removed, and traffic will be shift into its final configuration.”

Examples of traffic shifts can be found HERE.

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