Will make way for Open Road Tolling equipment
Hampton Union, Friday, March 12, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Sixty years after the first toll plaza in New Hampshire opened in Hampton on the Blue Star Turnpike (I-95), several tollbooths are being removed to make way for New England's first Open Road Tolling (ORT) facility that will allow motorists with E-ZPass to go through dedicated ORT lanes at highway speeds.
This week a key construction component of the $17 million ORT project took place at the Hampton Toll Plaza with the removal of the center lanes of the plaza and the related section of the overhead canopy. This will allow for the installation of the new overhead gantry system that will support the ORT technology.
Contractors are working an aggressive schedule to allow for the start of Open Road Tolling at the Hampton Toll Plaza on the targeted date of June 15, 2010. However, state Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said that date may be pushed back a week or two.
"We're having some problems with the construction of the gantry (that will support the scanners for the tolling) being constructed by a company in Texas," Boynton said Wednesday. "In fact, we have some people down there now."
The plaza first opened to traffic on June 24, 1950.
"This cutting edge electronic tolling technology will make a huge difference for motorists and air quality," said state Department of Transportation Commissioner George Campbell. "The infamous five-mile backups at the Hampton Tolls will be a thing of the past, even during the summer weekend peak hours."
With Open Road Tolling, motorists with E-ZPass transponders will be able to travel through either the dedicated ORT lanes or the traditional attended lanes. Cash paying customers will continue to be able to access attended lanes.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is also beginning preliminary work to install ORT at the Hooksett Toll Plaza in 2012. To sign up for E-ZPass, go to www.ezpassnh.com, call 1-877-NHEZPASS, or visit any of the three E-ZPass Walk-In Centers located in Hooksett, Portsmouth and Nashua.