EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) has started the final phase of adding its “All-Electronic Tolling” (AET).
The PTC says work is now underway to move toll booths in eastern PA from their current locations. New highway-speed collection points are being built along I-476, between interchanges, using a technique called “Open Road Tolling,” or ORT, which is a cashless, free-flowing way of collecting tolls without traditional plazas or toll booths.
According to PTC Officials, with the new ORT technology, tolls will continue to be paid electronically, but now vehicles will drive at highway speeds beneath an overhead structure called a gantry located on the turnpike between on and off ramps.
Technology built into the gantry and within the roadway identifies and classifies vehicles and processes “E-ZPass” and “Toll By Plate” payments.
“Open Road Tolling is the culmination of the PA Turnpike`s decade-long journey to modernize operations and meet customer expectations for seamless, nonstop travel. ORT is a safer, more convenient way for customers to travel and represents the future of toll collection worldwide,” explained said PA Turnpike CEO, Mark Compton.
Turnpike officials say they’re adding ORT because it:
- Fulfills customer expectations for seamless, convenient travel.
- Is safer for PA Turnpike drivers and its employees and is better for the environment.
- Allows new access points to be easily added at a lower cost, enhancing mobility and reducing traffic at interchanges and on connecting roads.
- Will help save the PA Turnpike more than $75 million a year.
The PTC said the PA Turnpike is building 19 gantries with small utility buildings to house the required equipment, east of the Reading Interchange (Exit 286) to the New Jersey line and along the entire Northeastern Extension (I-476).
Officials say the eastern ORT system will go live in 2025 and construction of the ORT system for the central and western PA Turnpike roadway is expected to begin in 2025 and is expected to go live in 2027.
On Sunday, April 30 the Pennsylvania State Police started to slow down traffic to allow crews to begin installing toll gantries across the eastern PA Turnpike. This work will occur over the next several months.
The PTC says the delays are necessary to keep workers and customers safe and will happen on Sunday evenings during off-peak hours.
For more information visit The PA Turnpike’s “Open Road Tolling” website.