2004-08-06 / Community

High Speed EZ-Pass Coming To City Bridges

Travelers using the Outerbridge Crossing will enjoy enhanced service and improved traffic flow when the Port Authority introduces highway-speed E-ZPass toll lanes next year at the bridge connecting Perth Amboy, N.J., with Staten Island. The system is expected to be operational by summer, 2005.

The $9.9 million project, authorized on Wednesday by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners, will be a

pilot program for the Port Authority’s bridges. Eventually, highway-speed E-ZPass is expected to be implemented at the George Washington, Goethals and Bayonne bridges.

This project will create two barrier-free toll lanes that will allow motorists to travel through the Outerbridge Crossing’s toll plaza at the 45 mph speed limit that is posted for the bridge. In place of tollbooths, two open-road lanes will pass through an overhead gantry that will house the equipment for reading E-ZPass transponders and enforcing toll violations at the faster speed.

Currently, there are five highway-speed toll plazas operated by regional transportation authorities. They are located at interchanges 1, 6 and 18W of the New Jersey Turnpike, the Atlantic City Expressway’s Pleasantville Toll Plaza, and the Garden State Parkway’s Passaic Valley Plaza.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “One of the goals of Governor McGreevey’s administration is to reduce the time commuters spend in their vehicles. Since 1997, the Port Authority’s E-ZPass program has greatly improved the way in which people throughout this region travel. The addition of highway-speed E-ZPass at the Outerbridge Crossing will enable us to improve customer service through greater reliability and more efficient traffic flow.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Highway-speed E-ZPass toll lanes will increase convenience for our customers. It will also help us achieve our mandate of moving people and goods in and out and across our region. By allowing travelers the ability to use the dedicated lanes, congestion is decreased at the toll plaza and time is saved for our customers.”

There was no information on when or if the two bridges that bring access to Rockaway would be put on the program.

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