Carl DeFebo
Manager, Media and Public Relations

C  O  M  M  I  S  S  I  O  N       N  E  W  S       R  E  L  E  A  S  E


Christina Hampton
(215) 292-3785

October 12, 2005


$4 Million Express E-ZPass Lanes
Open At Mid-County Interchange

Enhancement to help ease congestion at Turnpike’s busiest Interchange.

PHILADELPHIA, PA. (OCT. 12, 2005) — Pennsylvania Turnpike officials today unveiled Express E-ZPass — where customers travel at highway speed through specially designated lanes and have their toll paid electronically — at the Mid-County Interchange (exit #20) in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County. At 12 noon, Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Joe Brimmeier officially opened the $4 million north and southbound Express E-ZPass lanes at the 17-lane interchange which links the Blue Route (I-476), the Turnpike’s east-west mainline (I-276) and the Northeastern Extension (I-476).

More than 65,000 vehicles a day pass through Mid-County, the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s busiest interchange; what’s more, 60 percent of the morning rush-hour traffic at Mid-County is comprised of E-ZPass tag holders.

“Moving traffic more quickly and efficiently through our heaviest-traveled toll plaza is a priority,” said Brimmeier. “Getting through the toll plaza faster means that you have more time at home, at work, whatever the destination. Certainly, with our hectic lives and busy lifestyles, we can all use a little more time.”

Mid-County is just the second Pennsylvania toll plaza to feature Express E-ZPass. The first was at the Warrendale toll plaza at the western terminus of the Turnpike’s ticket system in Allegheny County. The four Express Lanes there opened in June, 2004.

Until today, E-ZPass customers have had to slow down to 5 mph as they proceed through the E-ZPass lanes at Mid-County. Now, E-ZPass customers traveling north on I-476 (the Blue Route) can use Express E-ZPass lanes five or six entering the Mid-County toll plaza at speeds up to 35 mph. Motorists traveling southbound on the Northeastern Extension (I-476) and westbound on the mainline Turnpike can exit Mid-County using Express E-ZPass lanes seven or eight at speeds up to 55 mph. The speed limit in all other non-express E-ZPass lanes at the interchange remains at 5 mph.

“We’ve made the commitment to make E-ZPass even better by installing this new technology at Mid-County,” said Brimmeier. “Not only will Express E-ZPass enhance and increase convenience for our customers, we’re confident it will alleviate congestion and increase mobility through the interchange.”

Southeastern Pennsylvania has more E-ZPass customers than any other region across the 531-mile Turnpike system. In the Philadelphia area, the Turnpike has become a vital commuter highway.

The Express E-ZPass lanes at Mid-County are physically separated from the standard E-ZPass and ticket lanes by means of concrete median barrier. E-ZPass customers should keep to the far left approaching the toll plaza, while cash-paying customers should stay right.

Turnpike officials emphasized that both ticket and E-ZPass customers must pay special attention to signs approaching Mid-County. If a customer mistakenly enters the express lanes, they should not stop or slow down but keep traveling. “Stopping or slowing down with incoming traffic is dangerous and creates a serious safety hazard,” said Brimmeier. “Instead, we want southbound customers who mistakenly get into the express lanes to continue traveling, but keep their ticket.”

Brimmeier explained that customers who mistakenly enter the express lane must be mindful that cameras have taken an image of their license plate; they will receive a notice in the mail in a few weeks. When the notice arrives, customers should send the toll ticket and payment for the actual toll due, along with the remittance portion of the notice to the address listed. Customers should not attempt to pay their toll at the toll plaza.

Since the launch of E-ZPass in December 2000, the program has experienced exceptional growth. The Turnpike today manages 430,000 E-ZPass accounts with 850,000 active transponders, or “tags,” in use. The Commission logs 6 million E-ZPass transactions a month (or 200,000 daily). On average, nearly half of all toll transactions are E-ZPass transactions. In fact, at nine of the Turnpike’s busiest Southeastern Pennsylvania interchanges, E-ZPass motorists account for more than 60 percent of morning rush-hour traffic.

“E-ZPass is a tremendous success,” said Brimmeier. “And with Express E-ZPass, we are building on that success. It’s what our customers want and deserve, and we have every intention of serving and satisfying them.”

Additional Express E-ZPass lanes are planned at the Turnpike’s Delaware River Bridge (exit #359) and the future PA Turnpike/I-95 link.

Mid-County Interchange is one of the largest toll plazas with 17 lanes for entering and exiting traffic and eight access ramps comprising 4.4 miles. When it opened in 1992, the average daily traffic volume at Mid-County was 20,000 to 22,000 vehicles daily.

Contractors for the Express Lanes at Mid-County are Agate Construction, Ocean View, N.J. (general contractor), KCI Technologies, Hunt Valley, Md. (design) and Urban Engineers, Philadelphia (construction management).


P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676      Phone: (717) 939-9551     Fax: (717) 986-9649