Mass Pike toll plaza demolition underway

MassDot said the e-tolling will save the state $5 million a year.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Demolition of the Massachusetts turnpike toll plazas are under way. 22News was live in Chicopee where people are getting used the new way to get on and off the Pike.

Drivers told 22News they’re excited about the new tolling system, and they think it will save them time.

Massachusetts’ all electronic tolling system went live Friday night at 10. The toll booths are blacked out, and the ones in the middle are blocked off.

Demolition of the old toll booth lanes started Sunday morning. Construction crews are expected to have the center lanes removed by November 22nd. During that time, traffic is being re-routed to the outer lanes, at a 15 mph speed limit.

Brian Rueli of Agawam said “Do believe it’s better for the state overall, because we’re not having to stop at those toll booths, it’s not causing traffic and I just think it will make everything run more smoothly.”

Stephanie Putkowski of West Springfield said “once they actually take the booths out of there, because I see that could be a problem with traffic, but I think they’re trying to get those out of there real quickly.”

Crews will work 24/7 until. In the long run it will save more time and traffic. 16 gantries replaced more than two dozen toll plazas. The gantries scan your EZ Pass Transponder, at highway speed, and deduct money from your account. Drivers with no e-z pass, will get a bill in the mail, along with a surcharge.

There are several “free ride” zones on the pike. One of them is in western Massachusetts from Ludlow to West Springfield.  Between exits 4 and 7 are now free.

MassDot said the e-tolling will save the state $5 million a year.