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Goodbye, PA Turnpike toll booths. They’ll be demolished as overhead readers replace them.

The days of slowing down for turnpike toll booths are nearing an end for Pennsylvania drivers.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission last week approved $50 million in contracts to construct overhead gantries needed to complete a transition to Open Road Tolling, a system that will electronically charge drivers at interchanges, eliminating the need to slow down or stop.

Construction is set to begin later this year and be completed in late 2025 or early 2026, with existing gantries in the eastern part of the state becoming operational in January. Construction west of Reading will not begin until 2027.

Once the gantries are completed, toll plazas along the turnpike will no longer be in service and eventually will be demolished.

Pennsylvania toll systems have been operating cashless since the COVID-19 pandemic, with EZ-Passes and license plate photography allowing for drivers to go straight through toll booths without stopping.

“We’re really excited to just introduce customers to an experience we know that they want. Eighty-six percent of our customers are EZ-Pass, so we know they prefer the cashless system,” Turnpike Commission spokeswoman Marissa Orbanek said.

The gantries will still use EZ-Passes, but they are much safer and more cost-efficient, Ms. Orbanek said.

“The Open Road Tolling is a safer, convenient, more seamless travel, so that once the toll booths are removed, cars won’t have to slow down or stop at the exits and enter systems,” Ms. Orbanek said. “We’re going to be able to ease [congestion] and then it’ll also help prevent any rear-end collisions that happen at the toll booth plazas.”

Open Road Tolling will save the Pa. Turnpike $25 million per year in construction and maintenance costs, according to the Turnpike Commission.

Ms. Orbanek said these contracts will make Pennsylvania one of the few states to utilize ORT across the entire state.

The contract involves three companies: Allison Park Contractors, New Enterprises Stone and Lime Co., and Road-Con, Inc.

Source: Berkshire mont

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