MDTA: No More Cash Tolls at Bay Bridge by Summer - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

MDTA: No More Cash Tolls at Bay Bridge by Summer

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BALTIMORE- The Maryland Transportation Authority has announced an aggressive construction timeline that will allow full-time all-electronic tolling to be in place at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge by this summer.

Beginning this month, drivers will see some of the existing toll booths demolished to create wider lanes at the Bay Bridge plaza in preparation for all-electronic tolling.

On the Eastern Shore side of the bridge, crews also will prepare for installation of overhead tolling gantries between the Bay Bridge and MD 8 on Kent Island, according to the MDTA.

Toll operations will no longer exist approaching the bridge from Annapolis once the overhead tolling gantries are operational on Kent Island.

Drivers traveling eastbound will be tolled as they get off the bridge.

“We know motorists who use the Bay Bridge are ready to embrace all-electronic tolling,” said MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports. “This past fall, Gov. [Larry] Hogan asked us to initiate cashless tolling at the bridge as soon as possible. This schedule will allow us to fulfill that mission, and this project is the next logical step as Maryland toll facilities move toward an all-electronic system.”

With all-electronic tolling, cash is not accepted as payment. Drivers do not have to stop to pay tolls, as overhead gantries collect tolls electronically by E-ZPass or video tolling.

According to the MDTA, the benefits of all-electronic tolling include less idling time for better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, decreased congestion, increased driver safety and a safer work environment for employees.

Construction to implement full-time all-electronic tolling at the Bay Bridge will start the evening of Sunday, Jan. 12, when toll lanes 3, 4 and 5 permanently close to allow workers to dismantle the toll booths in those lanes.

Minimal traffic impact is expected and drivers will use the remaining open toll lanes.

During construction, the MDTA says it is critical drivers obey all roadway signs and speed limits, as the plazas will remain active work zones.

While all-electronic tolling will be fully implemented by summer, remnants of the toll plaza will remain until 2022, when demolition and roadway reconstruction will be complete.

At the Bay Bridge, 74 percent of its drivers are already E-ZPass customers, according to state officials.

To prepare for the summer implementation of all-electronic tolling, MDTA is expanding its marketing and outreach efforts to encourage motorists to sign up for E-ZPass.

Standard E-ZPass transponders are free, and there is no monthly fee for customers with Maryland addresses.

Drivers are encouraged to sign up now to start immediately saving on tolls and no later than spring to be ready for cashless tolling.

Sign up can be completed at ezpassmd.com or by visiting E-ZPass® Maryland Customer Service Centers at MDTA toll facilities, at many Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration locations and at retail partners.

A full list of locations is available at ezpassmd.com.

E-ZPass Maryland customers receive discounts at most state toll facilities.

At the Bay Bridge, the two-axle E-ZPass Maryland toll rate is $2.50, and the two-axle video toll rate is $6.

Bay Bridge commuter plans also are available and provide additional discounts.

The E-ZPass Outreach Bus is now at the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Company on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. through January.

E-ZPass “On the Go” transponders are available with a credit or debit card.

MDTA is self-sufficient and receives no gas tax, motor vehicle fees or other revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund. MDTA facilities are fully financed, operated, maintained, improved and protected through toll revenues paid by customers using those facilities.

For the latest on Bay Bridge traffic, call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726).

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