Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the final of 70 steel gantries has been erected ahead of the Thruway's conversion to cashless tolling system wide by the end of 2020. The gantry located on I-90 at exit 42 (Geneva) is the final gantry to be installed, marking another significant milestone in the $355 million project. The installation of gantries at 21 over the main highway and 34 on the entrance/exit ramp tolling locations was completed on time and on budget and is part of the first phase of the project to convert the Thruway to cashless tolling.
"This project is transforming New York's transportation system by improving driving experiences, expediting traffic flow, and improving air quality in areas surrounding toll plazas," Governor Cuomo said. "With upgrades like this, we are ushering in a new modern era for traveling across this state which will benefit motorists for decades to come."
Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said, "The Thruway Authority is making incredible progress with the historic conversion to cashless tolling on the ticketed system which will benefit millions of motorists who travel the Thruway every year. As the project continues, we're on schedule for the system to go live by the end of 2020, ushering in a new era of transportation on the Thruway."
Crews are now installing cashless tolling equipment on the gantries, which include state-of-the-art sensors and cameras that read E-ZPass tags and take license plate images. There will be more than 2,000 state-of-the-art cameras affixed to the gantries when completed. The equipment is not currently operational as the system will go live all at once by the end of 2020.
The gantries installed over the mainline highway range from 58 feet to 150 feet in length by 23 feet in height, and weighing between 25,000 and 104,000 pounds. Gantries installed over the entrance/exit ramps range from 48 feet to 94 feet in length by 23 feet in height, and weighing between 33,000 and 74,000 pounds. Gantries were fabricated utilizing 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 at LMC Industrial Contractors Inc. in Livingston County.
As Governor Cuomo first announced in his 2018 State of the State address, the $355 million investment will transform and modernize the Thruway system for the approximately 267 million motorists that travel the superhighway each year.
Motorists are encouraged to sign up for E-ZPass, which is the most convenient way to pay tolls on the Thruway. E-ZPass tags are sold at retail locations across the state and motorists can also sign up online. For additional information on how cashless tolling works and tips on how to pay bills on time, visit the Thruway Authority's website at thruway.ny.gov/cashless.
Additionally, the Thruway Authority launched a webpage dedicated to the project and its developments. One of the many features on the webpage is the Interactive Map. Motorists can view where the gantries are installed along the system and the progress made at each location. The webpage also features a FAQ section, project gallery and traffic information.
In June 2019, Governor Cuomo announced Cashless Tolling Constructors, LLC (CTC) was awarded the contract to install cashless tolling across the entire Thruway ticketed system by the end of 2020. CTC is a consortium of contractors which is performing work in each of the four Thruway Maintenance Divisions; New York, Albany, Syracuse, and Buffalo. A workforce of more than 800 staff is spread along the I-87 and I-90 corridors, spanning 18 counties.
When cashless tolling is operational on the Thruway's ticketed system and all toll booths are removed, motorists will drive seamlessly under gantries so vehicles no longer have to stop to pay tolls. 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. As part of the Design-Build project requirements, the switchover to cashless tolling will take place simultaneously system-wide by the end of 2020.
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 will be required to 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.