STURBRIDGE, Mass. (WWLP) – MassDOT worked over 24 hours to demolish some toll booths and canopies along the Massachusetts Turnpike.
According to MassDOT Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin, there are a total of 155 toll booths. As of 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, 76 of them have been demolished, pushing MassDOT ahead of schedule.
Since the Mass Pike’s all-electronic tolling system went “live” Friday night, demolition crews have been taking down toll booths and overhead canopies at 23 sites along the length of the Mass Pike.
The demolition work started Sunday. Within 24 hours, the booths and canopies in Sturbridge, Worcester, Framingham, Lee, West Stockbridge, and Natick were gone. Crews also removed the utilities and equipment from the underground tunnels that ran beneath the toll plaza.
During the 1st phase of construction until November 22nd, each location will focus on demolishing the center portion of the plaza, leaving the outside lanes open.
Drivers are reminded that the posted speed limit is 15 mph through each of these construction zones, even when there is no construction going on.
Starting after Thanksgiving, crews will start working on the outer lanes of the toll plaza. MassDOT predicts all this will be complete by the end of 2017.
This is all because of the new overhead gantries that read your E-ZPass transponders, rather than paying at toll booths. The MassDOT reported on Monday more than 2.7 million transactions were processed this weekend under this new system; 77% of them were E-ZPass transactions.
Despite the 15-mile-per-hour speed limit in work zones, Monday’s commute was not a “Halloween hassle” at the Sturbridge interchange, normally one of the mass pike’s busiest exits. “Actually, today was better for me,” says Craig Thompson, “because usually when I get on there, it’s a nightmare no matter what.”
MassDOT urges drivers to plan their turnpike commute as if they were heading into a snowstorm over the next two-to-three weeks, during the first phase of construction.
You can get an E-ZPass at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, or your local AAA. They can also be ordered online; however, the MassDOT website is shut down until Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The MassDOT has been working to migrate 1.7-million accounts from their old system to the new system.