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Electronic Tolling Phase 2 Traffic IC9 Sturbridge, November 2016MassDOT is pleased to announce that it is continuing the process of road reconstruction and toll plaza infrastructure demolition activities following the implementation of the All Electronic Tolling (AET) program on October 28 on I-90 between New York to Boston.

“All Phase One toll plaza demolition work was completed ahead of schedule and work continues to progress on schedule for the next phases of road reconstruction in 23 work zones,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The transition to All Electronic Tolling has been a smooth one and we believe the public has started to realize the goals of the program which include increasing safety, some relief from traffic congestion and a reduction in greenhouse gases.”

“This project is a true testament to the hard work and thoughtful planning MassDOT personnel and contractors put into construction activities,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “We had a safe transition from manual collection and we’ve had a large number of drivers applying for free transponders in order to get the E-ZPassMA discount.  All in all it’s been a successful transition and we have appreciated the public’s patience in traveling through work zones and the dedication of crews in working around the clock to complete this project on time.”

MassDOT reports that overhead tolling gantries have registered more than 50 million transactions since All Electronic Tolling began on October 28.

Toll demolition and roadway reconstruction continues to trend on schedule at all 23 work zones and with Phase One work completed ahead of schedule in time for the Thanksgiving holiday travel week, which reportedly saw less severe congestion than in previous years.

MassDOT says several important achievements have been realized, including:

  • Travel time data during weekday morning hours shows that drivers traveling eastbound along I-90 from I-495 to the I-90 “boat section” in South Boston saw up to 12 minutes of travel time savings during Stage 2 construction, on average, when compared to the weeks prior to the toll demolition project. (Please note the graph below.)
  • A record number of transponders are assigned to vehicles, with 3,051,886 Massachusetts E-ZPass transponders now in circulation, as of December 5.
  • Between October 28 and December 4, the overhead tolling gantries registered 50.3 million transactions.
  • Since October 28, 83% of the transactions have been automatically registered as valid E-ZPass transactions.  Following manual image review, this percentage rose to approximately 86% which puts MassDOT above its goal of 85% E-ZPass market share.
  • From the inception of the program on October 28 to December 5, MassDOT mailed 589,787 Pay By Plate invoices to customers. (Pay By Plate customers are those vehicle owners with no transponder associated to the vehicle plate.)

MassDOT will continue to monitor traffic flow on I-90 during the winter months so construction activities can continue to be evaluated in regard to the impact on drivers.

I-90 Eastbound showing travel time from I-495 to the “boat section” in South Boston Pre-AET vs. Stage 1 vs. Stage 2 Average weekday travel, Monday to Thursday (“Free Flow” will be achieved when project is completed: end of 2017)

I-90 Eastbound showing travel time from I-495 to the “boat section” in South Boston
Pre-AET vs. Stage 1 vs. Stage 2
Average weekday travel, Monday to Thursday
(“Free Flow” will be achieved when project is completed: end of 2017)

Phase Two of the Toll Plaza Demolition and Road Reconstruction Project involves work on what had been the toll plaza areas to the left and right of the plaza in addition to the demolition of any toll administration buildings and any remaining tunnel infrastructure.  Ongoing construction in work zones will also include finishing road drainage work, installing catch basins and culverts where needed, repaving road surfaces and adding lighting, guardrail, and other safety features. This work will occur throughout the winter, as weather permits.  Crews will also be working under more traditional construction hours, rather than the 24/7 schedule that was part of the first phase.  Each of the 23 work zones has its own management, design, and construction plan.  Activities are scheduled to be completed by the end of calendar year 2017 in all work zones.

MassDOT recognizes that some travelers may be unaware of the transition to All Electronic Tolling and for that reason a “grace period” policy was implemented.  The policy means that drivers who do not have a transponder may, after receiving a Pay By Plate bill, choose to apply for a transponder and, after paying the invoice in full and opening an E-ZPass account, may then receive the transponder discount for that toll.  The customer will receive an automatic credit on their new E-ZPass account equal to the difference between the Pay By Plate rate and E-ZPassMA rate.

For the first 6 months, this “grace period” will be offered on any Pay By Plate bill a customer receives, and then after 6 months, on the first Pay By Plate bill a new customer receives.

  • Since the inception of the program on October 28, there have been 502 Pay By Plate conversions.
  • MassDOT reminds customers that the easiest way to obtain a free a transponder or take advantage of the “grace period” is by going online to ezdrivema.com or by calling the service center at 1-877-627-7745. Customers may also visit locations in-person and the EZDriveMA website has a list of those locations.

MassDOT encourages drivers to continue to plan ahead, follow posted speed limits and use technology tools such as travel apps to make informed decisions before leaving home.

For more information about gantry rates and for other details about the implementation of the EZDriveMA program, please visit www.ezdrivema.com.

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