As Mass. Pike toll booths disappear, new website comes back online

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Drivers can once again sign up for free electronic tolling transponders on the Department of Transportation’s website, a service that had been unavailable since the switch to all-electronic tolling last Friday night.

And since the new system launched at 10:06 p.m. Oct. 28, according to MassDOT, the work of demolishing and removing the now-obsolete toll booths has proceeded on schedule.

If you don't yet have a transponder, these gantries along the Pike will make sure you get a bill in the mail.

Antonio Caban / State House News Service

If you don’t yet have a transponder, these gantries along the Pike will make sure you get a bill in the mail.

“Construction activities are progressing well,” Transportation Secretary and MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack said late Tuesday, Nov. 1. “We are thankful for the hard work of all those involved in pre-planning for the toll demolition and road reconstruction process, and we appreciate drivers continuing to make informed and appropriate travel decisions and helping to minimize traffic impact.”

The website and customer service hotline were shut down Oct. 28 to allow MassDOT to “migrate approximately 1.7 million customer accounts from the current E-ZPassMA system into the new and updated system, and ensure customers are billed the correct gantry rate.”

Drivers can request a transponder, which charges tolls by communicating with electronic gantries over the roadway, on the new website, Drivers who already have a transponder can use the new website to manage their account.

At toll plazas in Sturbridge, Millbury, Framingham and Natick, full demolition of toll booths was achieved by Monday morning and at those four locations tunnel excavation has been occurring.

“We are continuing to move forward with logistics involving deployment of heavy construction equipment, canopy and booth demolition, filling in underground tunnels, and the removal of construction debris,” Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin said. “Our MassDOT crews and contractors deserve a great amount of credit for their hard work, and we appreciate drivers obeying the rules of the road and devoting their full attention to driving. We encourage drivers to continue to utilize our many travel planning tools and adjust their travel plans according to traffic conditions.”

Meanwhile heavy equipment continues to be mobilized at three I-90 toll plazas at interchanges in Auburn, Millbury and Westborough. At these plazas, it was anticipated that the focus on toll booth and canopy demolition work would linger into this morning [Wednesday, Nov. 2]. The areas impacted are I-90 interchanges intersecting with I-290, I-395, Route 12, Route 146, Route 122 and I-495.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack on Friday urged drivers to show patience in the coming weeks as work crews take down toll plazas.

Michael P. Norton / State House News Service

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack on Friday urged drivers to show patience in the coming weeks as work crews take down toll plazas.

Drivers are reminded that the posted speed limit is 15 mph through each of these construction zones, even when there is no visible construction activity. This speed limit will remain in place until Nov. 22, as crews now are involved in the process of demolishing the center areas of existing toll plazas and reconstructing the roadways in those center areas as temporary traffic patterns guide vehicles to the right and left of center areas.

MassDOT crews and contractors have now demolished 85 out of 155 toll booths. Demolition of the structures and infrastructure is now fully underway at all 23 work zone locations.

Crews have also entirely or partially demolished the overhead canopies at toll plazas in West Stockbridge, Lee, Westfield, West Springfield, Ludlow, Sturbridge, Natick, Framingham, and the Ted Williams Tunnel. A milestone was reached overnight at the toll plaza in Weston in which final paving of the center area of the plaza was completed and for this morning’s commute east and westbound I-90 vehicles were traveling in newly paved lanes through the center of this plaza area. At this location in Weston on I-90, demolition activities will now start to focus on the right and left of the center areas.

The following statistics reflect activity:

  • Approximately 4,060,487 transactions were processed by the All Electronic Tolling gantries between 10:06 p.m. Oct. 28 and 8 a.m. Nov. 1
  • This includes 1,264,253 transactions processed between 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31 and 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.
  • Approximately 82.8 percent of Monday’s transactions were automatically registered as valid E-ZPass transactions, while the rest will be reviewed or processed as Pay By Plate transactions.
  • 401 personnel were utilized for work on toll plaza demolition and road reconstruction on Monday. This number includes 115 public safety and law enforcement personnel and includes 286 MassDOT and contractor personnel. Overnight Tuesday, 411 personnel were deployed along with 124 pieces of equipment.

— Colin A. Young [with MassDOT press release]

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