CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts’ all electronic tolling system went live last Friday night. Toll booth demolition got underway immediately, and has been going on 24/7 ever since.
So far, drivers on the Massachusetts Turnpike like the new cash-less system. Timothy Pettaway of Chicopee told 22News, “I don’t have to worry about anything, but I still have my change, because I’m in that mindset, once I get on the Turnpike. But it’s no more tolls so, it’s clear sailing.”
All of the toll booths have been removed at Interchange 6 in Chicopee. At Chicopee Exits 5 and 6, construction crews are using heavy equipment to remove debris, and fill tunnels, which were located under the tolls.
Paving operations are under way at the Westfield and West Springfield Interchanges. If the weather co-operates, 6 interchanges will have completed Phase 1 of the demolition project by Sunday night.
Michelle Roman of Springfield said, “You’re not wasting your time stopping, taking a ticket, giving the money to the workers.”
MassDOT anticipates they’ll be filling in the center lanes of Interchanges 5 and 6 by Tuesday. They say said all remaining toll plaza work zones should complete their Phase 1 work by November 22nd.
As for Phase 2, MassDOT said each of the 23 work zones have physical challenges and considerations, so it’s hard to determine how long it will take to finish. Phase 2 will focus on demolishing toll plaza infrastructure to the left and right of the middle lanes, allowing cars to travel through the newly paved middle lanes.
All toll plaza and road construction activities are on schedule to be completed on I-90 by the end of 2017, however because of the progress being made, some sites may be finished sooner than that.
The following statistics reflect MassDOT activities since manual toll collections ended on October 28th, and toll plaza demolition started:
- 8,233,076 transactions were processed by the All Electronic Tolling gantries between 10:06 p.m., on October 28, and 8:00 a.m., today.
- 335 personnel were utilized for the work on toll plaza demolition and road reconstruction on Thursday, this number includes 109 public safety and law enforcement personnel and includes 226 MassDOT and contractor personnel.
- On Thursday, November 3, 1,702 individuals were serviced at E-ZPass customer service locations throughout the state, and the E-ZPass customer phone line received 6,122 phone calls. For information on transponders and electronic tolling: http://www.ezdrivema.com
- Traffic volumes every day this week have been comparable to a normal weekday.