CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – MassDOT’s All Electronic Tolling system went live at 10:00 p.m. Friday; which means overhead scanners will start to read your E-ZPass transponders, if you have one.
More than 168,000 people have ordered transponders since August, that’s four times more than this time last year. Drivers without an E-ZPass will get a bill in the mail and will pay a surcharge.
If you sign up for an E-ZPass within 6-months, MassDOT will credit your account for the extra charges you incur during the “grace period.”
Kelly Abernethy of Kittery, Maine, told 22News, “To make sure you get around to paying those is sometime difficult. So I would imagine, they’ll be issues with people whose bills are not getting paid.”
No more slowing down at toll plazas. 16 overhead gantries will scan your vehicle at highway speeds; four of those gantries are in western Massachusetts.
Radine-Labir Thomas of Schenectady, New York said, “Well I don’t really mind it. Actually you get there a lot quicker, but I do feel bad for the people who don’t have a job.”
Crews will start demolishing toll booths on Sunday. The middle toll lanes will be closed for 23 days, and construction will take place 24-7. Speed limit through toll plazas will be reduced to 15mph.
As drivers say good-bye to the toll booths, some drivers are experiencing problems obtaining an E-ZPass transponder on the state’s website. A MassDOT official blamed heavy traffic online for making the website slow.
Starting Friday night MassDOT’s website was shut down at 10:00 p.m. to migrate to the new system. The website will be shut down for three days, as they migrate 1.7-million accounts from their old system to the new one. At the same time, toll demolition will be happening.
Jesse Ram of Cambridge told 22News he wishes MassDOT started the project earlier; “I just don’t understand that you don’t do it during the summer, but if it would have started a little earlier, there would be a little more room in case there was stoppage due to snow.”
MassDOT is urging you plan ahead. Before getting on highway, they are advising you to use their Real-Time Traffic ‘Go-Time’ for traffic updates.
Removing all the toll plazas along the Mass Pike, is expected to be completed by next year.