Cashless Tolling Project FAQs
Why is the Thruway converting to cashless tolling?
The Thruway Authority is modernizing its 570-mile transportation system by converting to cashless tolling. Cashless tolling reduces congestion, improves traffic flow, is better for the environment, and allows for non-stop travel on New York’s toll roads, bridges and tunnels. The Thruway is scheduled to convert to an entirely cashless tolling system by the end of 2020.
What are some common terms related to the cashless tolling project?
Some common terms you will see referenced about the cashless tolling project include:
- Mainline: The mainline of the Thruway extends 426 miles, from New York City to Buffalo (I-87 and I-90). Other elements of the system include the New England Thruway (I-95), the Cross Westchester Expressway (I-287), the Garden State Parkway Connector, the Berkshire Connector (I-90), the Niagara Thruway (I-190), and the Erie Section (I-90).
- Gantry: A gantry is an overhead structure with a platform supporting equipment such as antennas, cameras and other sensors
- Highway Gantry: A gantry located on the Thruway mainline
- Ramp Gantry: A gantry located on the entrance and exit ramp
How does cashless tolling work?
Motorists drive under a gantry with state-of-the-art sensors and cameras that read E-ZPass tags and take license plate images, so vehicles no longer have to stop to pay the toll.
Vehicles with E-ZPass tags are automatically charged and vehicles without E-ZPass tags will have their license plate image captured and a toll bill mailed to the registered owner of each vehicle. Customers who pay using Tolls By Mail will pay the same toll rate as previously paid by cash customers, and E-ZPass customers with New York accounts will continue to receive a five percent discount.
What work is included in this project?
The Design Build project will include the installation of cashless tolling gantries and equipment and the removal of existing toll booths at 52 Thruway interchanges and toll barriers across New York State. There are two main phases to the project. The first phase is the installation of the gantries on the Thruway and ramps. The second phase will be the removal of the toll plazas.
How much will the project cost?
The project is a $355.3 million capital investment.
Who was awarded the project?
Cashless Tolling Constructors, LLC was awarded the project through a competitive bidding process.
When will the project begin?
The project begins in fall 2019 with the installation of gantries and cashless tolling equipment.
When will the project be complete?
The Thruway will convert to cashless tolling by the end of 2020. Once cashless tolling goes live across the system, work will continue in 2021 to remove the toll plazas and realign interchanges.
How will traffic be impacted during construction?
Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic shifts on the Thruway and on entrance/exit ramps for the duration of the project.
You can view the weekly traffic schedule in your area by visiting: http://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/laneclosures/index.shtml
When a gantry is installed, does that mean cashless tolling is operational in that location?
No. Gantries will be installed in various locations along the Thruway and on entrance and exit ramps. Once all of the gantries are installed, system equipment will be installed on the gantries and testing will occur over several months. The system will go live all at once by the end of 2020.
What will happen to the existing toll plazas once cashless tolling is in place?
After cashless tolling is operational system-wide at the end of 2020, the second phase of the project includes the removal of the toll plazas and realignment and repaving of the exit/entrance ramps.
The existing toll plazas at 52 Thruway interchanges and toll barriers will be removed in phases. For a yet to be determined time period, drivers will continue to travel through existing toll lanes at reduced speeds without stopping until the booths are removed and road reconfigurations are complete. Drivers will be strongly urged to slow down and use caution around the toll plazas during this time, as it will be an active construction zone.
One exception is the toll plaza on I-87 at exit 17 (Newburgh - Scranton- I-84 - NY Routes 17K & 300). The toll plaza will remain and the toll booths removed. Motorists will drive through the toll lanes at the posted speed limit.
Will there be any cash lanes available when the project is complete?
No. When the Thruway transitions to cashless tolling on the ticketed portion of the system, it will happen simultaneously system-wide. Cash lanes will no longer be available to pay the toll.
What will happen to the toll collectors once cashless tolling is in place?
Since the announcement in January 2018, the Thruway Authority commenced with a detailed outreach program including dedicated resources to connect all impacted toll employees with future professional career opportunities and potential career paths. Additionally, a number of toll collectors are eligible for retirement and are choosing to retire.
When will the Williamsville and Lackawanna toll barriers transition to cashless tolling?
These locations will convert to cashless tolling at the same time as the rest of the system, by the end of 2020.
What locations on the Thruway have already transitioned to cashless tolling?
Cashless tolling is already operational at the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and the Thruway’s fixed-price barriers in the lower Hudson Valley region and the Grand Island Bridges in Western New York.
Do I need to have an E-ZPass?
E-ZPass is the most convenient way to pay for tolls on the Thruway. If you do not have an E-ZPass, cameras will take a picture of your license plate when you pass under the gantries and a toll bill will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle using Tolls by Mail. Motorists can also pay for their toll bill online and over the phone.
Learn more about the billing process.
Will tolls increase?
Tolls are frozen through 2020.
Who can I contact if I have a question or concern about the project?
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Thruway Authority at 518-471-5300 during regular business hours Monday through Friday.
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