SWANTON (WTOL) - The Ohio Turnpike has had the current toll system in place for 10 years, and since it’s time for an update, leaders are using this opportunity to make major changes.
The Ohio Turnpike’s current system of toll collection was implemented in 2009 and is approaching the end of its useful life.
Since the roads need to have work done anyway, the plan is to remove some of those toll gates.
“As part of the construction of the toll collection system modernization, were are also going to replace the pavement, again that is over 60 years old," Tony Yacobucci Chief Engineer at Ohio Turnpike said.
A concrete barrier separates the E-ZPass lanes from the cash/credit-paying lanes. The E-ZPass lanes will then be “Open Road Tolling” style lanes.
“One of the benefits the Turnpike is going to see is that our process is going to be a lot more streamlined. Right now, at every gate, we have several people working, three different shifts. There are concerns about vehicles coming towards them," Ferzan M. Ahmed, P.E., Executive Director of the Ohio Turnpike said.
E-ZPass customers will not need to slow down at the entrances at Westgate and at Eastgate on either end of the turnpike.
There also will be two new toll plazas similar to this with one in Lucas County.
The idea is, other than slowing to about 10 miles per hour to get through automated gates that will lift by either detecting your E-ZPass transmitter.
Or if you don't have one and don't go through the right lane, a bill will be mailed to wherever your license plate is registered.
“If you do not have E-ZPass and you are paying cash, we will have a gate there to make sure we are collecting our toll," Yacobucci said.
Construction is anticipated to begin late this year, in the fourth quarter of 2019, once contractors are secured for each section.
Users will be able to stay at 70 miles per hour for the entire 241 mile stretch of roadway from Indiana to Pennsylvania and vice versa.
With these advancements, authorities at the Turnpike are keeping in mind what else is coming in the future.
“Mobility as we know it is changing. We are at the brink of a revolution not seen since the internal combustion engine and that is the invent of the technology and the research that’s going on for autonomous vehicles. The Turnpike is very well poised to work with the auto industry, private agencies public agencies to do some of these projects, and as we move forward, we’ll be working closely with Drive Ohio which is the agency that was launched to promote autonomous vehicle technology in Ohio as well as our automotive partners how the Turnpike can be leveraged to make Ohio a technology leader in the Midwest," Ahmed said.