HARRISBURG, PA (March 23, 2018) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) today announced that the technology and equipment installations are on track for the Cashless Tolling pilot projects on the Findlay Connector section of the Southern Beltway (PA Turnpike 576) in Washington and Allegheny counties and at the Clarks Summit and Keyser Avenue tolling points in Lackawanna County on the Northeastern Extension (Interstate 476). A state-of-the art Cashless Tolling system will be implemented at those locations on April 29.
“These segments of our system are the next in our series of staged, cashless pilot projects,” said PTC CEO Mark Compton. “We are making good on our promise to innovate and keep our customers moving safely.”
“Cashless” means there will be no coin baskets or toll collectors along the roadway; cash will no longer be accepted. Motorists with E-ZPass will not notice a difference and will continue to use the process with which they are familiar. For motorists who do not have E-ZPass, an image of their license plate is captured as they travel through a cashless facility. Using the address on file with PennDOT, a toll bill is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle — a cashless procedure known as “PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE.”
“Agencies across the country are introducing cashless systems, and we owe it to customers to continue to use the best technology available in every facet of our operations,” continued Compton. “We manage more than 550 miles of roadway serving rural areas as well as major urban centers, so we want to be sure cashless tolling makes sense for all of our customers.”
The benefits of cashless-tolling facilities include:
enhanced toll-plaza safety — no swerving to find the correct lane;
reduced congestion and travel times;
reduced footprint, emissions, noise and light;
reduced cost and disruption to build new interchanges; and
reduced long-term capital and operating costs.
With the conversion of the Findlay Connector and the tolling points at Keyser Avenue (No. 121) and Clarks Summit (No. 130), the Turnpike will have four Cashless Tolling locations. Last spring the Turnpike converted the Beaver Valley Expressway (Toll 376). In January 2016, the Turnpike opened a Cashless Tolling point near the Turnpike Bridge over the Delaware River at the eastern end of its system. The PTC has assured employees that there will be no layoffs associated with these pilot projects.
Customers who use Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit will see little physical change at the toll plazas. New electronic-tolling equipment is being installed at existing facilities — something referred to as “AET In Place.” Customers who use the Findlay Connector will no longer pay at ramp toll plazas, which will be removed. Beginning April 29, they will pay electronically at a new location on the Findlay Connector mainline — an “open-road” toll point at milepost 2.5 where equipment is suspended from an overhead gantry. Findlay Connector trips, which are now tolled between Exits 1-2 and Exits 4-6, will become free after conversion.
For more information on the projects, including videos about how cashless tolling works and location specifics, visit www.nocashzone.com.
Vehicle Classification System Upgrade
As part of the upgrades on the Findlay Connector and at Clarks Summit and Keyser Avenue, the PTC will replace its axle and weight-based vehicle classification system with a new axle and height-based system. This innovative system — which is used on the New York State Thruway and the Ohio Turnpike, among other toll facilities — offers improved accuracy, efficiency and predictability. The axle/height system will detect the number of axles and height between the first two axles to assess the toll; vehicles under 7.5 feet are considered low profile (“L” designation) while those over 7.5 feet are considered high profile (“H” designation).
Along with the classification changes, drivers at these locations will see new toll rates beginning April 29. The new rates reflect an increase that was implemented on most other sections of the PA Turnpike in January (rates did not increase at Clarks, Keyser and Findlay at that time). The new rates are available at the Turnpike’s online toll calculator by clicking here: https://www.paturnpike.com/toll/tollmileage.aspx.