HARRISBURG, PA. (JULY 23, 2015) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) recently approved toll rates for a cashless, nonstop tolling point for westbound motorists crossing the Delaware River Bridge from New Jersey into Pennsylvania on Interstate 276. E-ZPass customers, who make up more than 80 percent of traffic at the bridge, will pay $5 for a two-axle vehicle; non-E-ZPass customers will pay $6.75 via Pennsylvania Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE, a system that will take an image of the license plate and mail an invoice to the vehicle's owner. Each additional axle will cost an additional $5 for E-ZPass customers and an additional $6.75 for non-E-ZPass customers.
The Delaware River Bridge electronic toll is a critical element of the PTC's $1.4 billion project to connect I-95 and the Turnpike. "This is a vital project for the commission and the region and an essential first step in creating a long-awaited direct link between the Turnpike and I-95," said Turnpike Chairman Sean Logan.
When it opens in early 2016, the Delaware River Bridge electronic toll will replace the existing Delaware River Bridge Toll Plaza at milepost 359 near the New Jersey line. Only westbound motorists will pay a toll; those travelling east into New Jersey will not pay.
These tolling modifications are necessary to facilitate the nonstop flow of traffic between Interstate 95 and the Turnpike. Making such a connection with traditional "ticket" tolling would have meant building traditional, brick-and-mortar tollbooths where I-95 motorists would stop for a ticket and then stop again a few miles down the road to pay.
When electronic tolling begins at the Delaware River Bridge, the start- and end-point of the PTC's ticket-based system will move to a different location about six miles to the west. The new Neshaminy Falls Toll Plaza, now being constructed at milepost 353, will become the eastern limit of the Turnpike's ticket system. In addition, tolls will no longer be collected (or tickets issued) at the Delaware Valley/U.S. Route 13 Interchange (#358) - though motorists will still be able to get on and off the PA Turnpike/I-276 as they can today. That toll plaza, along with the Delaware River Bridge toll plaza (#359) will be closed on the day of the conversion and demolished shortly thereafter.
Here’s what westbound travelers can expect when the new tolling systems are in place:
- All westbound customers entering Pennsylvania will drive at 55 mph beneath the overhead gantries immediately after crossing the Delaware River Bridge from New Jersey. These gantries signify the tolling zone, where customers pay a flat toll without stopping via E-ZPass or Pennsylvania Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE.
- From there, all westbound customers can exit at the Delaware Valley Interchange (U.S. Route 13) without stopping or paying, or they can continue west on the PA Turnpike to the Neshaminy Falls Toll Plaza, where cash customers will stop at a designated lane to take a toll ticket at the entry point onto the Turnpike's ticket-based system.
- Westbound E-ZPass customers can drive through the Neshaminy Falls Toll Plaza at 55 mph via express lanes on the left or via 5 mph E-ZPass lanes to the right. The Neshaminy Falls Toll Plaza signifies the entry point onto the Turnpike's ticket-based system for E-ZPass customers too.
Here’s what eastbound travelers can expect when the new tolling systems are in place:
- Eastbound cash customers will stop at the Neshaminy Falls Toll Plaza to surrender their toll tickets and pay cash.
- Eastbound E-ZPass customers can proceed through the Neshaminy Falls Toll Plaza at 55 mph via express lanes on the left or via 5 mph E-ZPass lanes on the right.
- From there, all eastbound customers can either exit at the Delaware Valley Interchange (U.S. Route 13) or cross the Delaware River Bridge into New Jersey without stopping or paying additional tolls.
Chairman Logan said none of the 34 fare-collection workers will be laid off next year when tollbooths are closed at the Delaware River Bridge and Delaware Valley Interchange. He said 28 collectors will be transferred to the new Neshaminy Falls Toll Plaza and the rest will fill vacancies in other regional interchanges.
In late 2018, when the link between the two interstates opens, the three-mile, easternmost stretch of PA Turnpike will be designated as I-95.