The New York State Thruway Authority has finished installation of the first two of 70 cashless tolling gantries, marking a milestone ahead of the Thruway’s conversion to cashless tolling on the Thruway system-wide by the end of 2020. The gantries feature cameras and sensors to detect E-Z Pass users and take photos of license plates of non-EZ Pass users.
The first two gantries installed on I-87 at exit 21B (Coxsackie) and exit 22 (Selkirk) are approximately 23 ft tall, 60 ft wide, 64 ft long and weigh approximately 48,000 pounds. The two gantries are located on the entrance/exit ramps. Depending on location, some gantries may be installed on entrance/exit ramps or over the mainline highway.
“Non-stop, streamlined travel is no longer a dream – New York State is delivering on this promise and the installation of the first gantries is a momentous step in building a modern Thruway of the future,” Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “When completed, the hundreds of millions of people who travel the Thruway each year will enjoy non-stop travel which will ease congestion, enhance safety, and lower idling emissions.”
As Governor Cuomo first announced in his 2018 State of the State address, the $355.3 million investment will transform the Thruway system for the approximately 267 million motorists that travel the superhighway that crosses the state each year.
In total, 70 gantries will be installed on the Thruway’s 570-mile ticketed system by the end of 2020. Gantries will be built with approximately 3.5 million pounds of 100 percent American-made steel and hundreds of New York workers in accordance to the “New York Buy American” Act. Gantries are being fabricated at LMC Industrial Contractors Inc. in Livingston County.
Cashless tolling is already operational at the Thruway’s fixed-price barriers in the lower Hudson Valley region and the Grand Island Bridges in Western New York.
In June 2019, Governor Cuomo announced Cashless Tolling Constructors , LLC (CTC) was awarded the $355 million contract to install cashless tolling across the entire Thruway ticketed system by the end of 2020. CTC is a consortium of contractors who will perform work in each of the four Thruway Maintenance Divisions; New York, Albany, Syracuse, and Buffalo. During the peak activity of the project, there will be a workforce of more than 800 engaged staff spread along the I-87 and I-90 corridors, spanning 18 counties.
Currently in the first phase of construction of the cashless tolling conversion, crews are actively working to prepare sites to install gantries and cashless tolling equipment on the highway and designated ramps. As part of the Design-Build project requirements, the switchover to cashless tolling will take place simultaneously system-wide by the end of 2020.
When cashless tolling is operational on the Thruway’s ticketed system and all toll booths are removed, motorists will drive seamlessly under gantries with state-of-the-art sensors and cameras that read E-ZPass tags and take license plate images so vehicles no longer have to stop to pay tolls. There will be more than 2,000 state-of-the-art cameras affixed to the gantries when completed.
Vehicles with E-ZPass tags are automatically charged and vehicles without E-ZPass tags will have their license plate image captured and a toll bill mailed to the registered owner.
Following the conversion to cashless tolling, the existing toll plazas and barriers will be removed in phases. During the deconstruction phase, drivers will continue to travel through existing toll lanes at reduced speeds without stopping until the booths are removed and road reconfigurations are complete. Drivers must use caution around the toll plazas during this time, as it will be an active construction zone. The posted speed limit when traveling through the toll lanes will be 20 MPH.
Additionally, the Thruway Authority has launched a new webpage dedicated to the project and its developments.