CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts’ new All Electronic Tolling system is scheduled to go live at 10:00 p.m. Friday. This will be a major change for drivers in the state, and it could also cause some congestion on the highway over the next few weeks.
Workers were still inside the toll booths along the pike Friday morning, but they will collect their final cash payments at 9:45 p.m. That is when 16 overhead toll gantries along the Mass Pike will go live.
The gantries will either scan your E-ZPass transponder to collect tolls, or take a picture of your license plate, and send you a bill in the mail if you don’t have a transponder. If you have a Massachusetts E-ZPass transponder, you will pay a discounted toll for the most part on the Pike. If you have an out-of-state transponder, or do not have a transponder at all, you will have to pay a surcharge on the Pike.
Many 22News viewers have told us that they have had trouble ordering a transponder, or, are worried that their transponder won’t be activated in time. We have some good news for you.
MassDOT announced that they’re giving drivers without transponders a 6-month “grace period.” You will technically still get charged the full price of the pay-by-plate system up front, but the difference between that toll, and the discounted E-ZPass toll will be credited to your account once your E-ZPass transponder is activated. To see how much money the tolls will cost you, click here.
MassDOT is encouraging drivers to get a free E-ZPass transponders to avoid paying a surcharge. Once you get a transponder, they take about five days to activate.
Demolition – Phase 1
Crews will start demolishing tollbooths along the MassPike starting Sunday. MassDOT is warning drivers that the demolition could cause some traffic over the next few weeks.
Morning commuters, you could notice that extra traffic starting Monday morning, when Phase 1 of the demolition will be underway. At that time, drivers will be diverted to the outer lanes of the MassPike, while crews remove the toll booths in the center of the highway. That’s expected to take a few weeks to finish.
Demolition – Phase 2
Phase 2 will begin November 22. At that time, drivers will be diverted to the center lanes, while the outer toll booths are removed. This phase should be finished by the end of 2017.
Free Transponders – Where to get one
E-ZPass transponders are free, but if you don’t have one yet, it could more difficult to get one over the next few days.
MassDOT said the online system will be shut down from 10:00 p.m. Friday until 7:00 a.m. Tuesday. If you need to open an account over the next few days, you can still go to a walk-in location along the Pike.
The only locations in the Pioneer Valley are the Ludlow Service Plazas on the eastbound and westbound sides, and they will have extended hours this weekend for anyone who still needs a transponder. The service plazas will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday. There are also locations at the eastbound service plazas in Lee and Charlton, in addition to other locations farther east.
You can also go to the RMV or AAA to get a transponder, but you’ll want to keep in mind that they won’t work right away.