PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE … Toll Plaza 49, the first of four updated/new plazas on the Ohio Turnpike, construction was completed last year, and is currently being used for testing components of the new Toll Collection System. (PHOTO PROVIDED)
By: Lindsay Phillips
The newly constructed mainline toll plaza at milepost 49 near Swanton, is the first of four mainline toll plazas updated that were necessary for the implementation of the new Toll Collection System (TCS).
Construction of Toll Plaza 49 was substantially completed last year and is currently being used for testing components of the new system.
Public Information Officer, Charles Cyrill, shared, “The Ohio Turnpikes engineering, technology, toll operations and audit staff, along with its toll consultant and TCS integrator, have been instrumental in ensuring that the comprehensive testing of the new system remains on schedule.”
Testing procedures were implemented to demonstrate that all the TCS subsystems, including the in-lane sensors, electronic and manual toll collection, pre-class and post-class vehicle classification, and over-height detection, are complying and function properly in an integrated test environment.
Once completed, the modernized TCS will debut with E-ZPass open road tolling lanes and the gates removed for E-ZPass customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic vastly impacted the number of supplies available for construction, which caused minor delays in the building operations.
The current cost to build Toll Plaza 49 is about $10.1 million. The capital implementation cost for the entire TCS project is estimated to cost up to $232 million.
The new TCS is expected to save about $257 million in operating costs over 30 years. The operational savings is a result of the reduction of toll plazas from 31 to 24; the addition of automatic toll payment machines at all toll plazas; the elimination of toll gates on all entry lanes; and a projected increase in E-ZPass usage.
Construction of the new mainline Westgate Toll Plaza in Edon at milepost 4 and the mainline toll plaza at milepost 211 in Newton Falls are underway and will continue through 2022.
Eastgate Toll Plaza in Springfield Township at milepost 239 will be renovated.
Unlike other toll plazas, Toll Plaza 49, along with Toll Plazas 4 and 211, will have pedestrian bridges for staff to access their booths from the main office.
Lindsay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org