Construction has started at the Bronx Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges as the Metropolitan Transit Authority gets set to introduce its new Open Road Tolling initiative in the fall.
The MTA began lane closures on Wednesday, April 5 to begin the necessary road work for the project.
The lane closures will continue throughout the spring and summer as the MTA finishes the work.
For example, at the Throgs Neck Bridge from Friday, April 14 at 10 p.m. to Saturday, April 15 at 5 a.m., two southbound tolling lanes heading towards Queens will be closed for roadwork.
The MTA will notify the public of more impending lane closures as the work continues in the coming weeks.
The agency is asking that motorists give themselves ample time to reach their destination while the work continues.
Once construction is completed, the former tolling lanes will become ‘gantries’ under which vehicles will pass under without stopping.
Cameras will be installed on the gantries and take a picture of each vehicle’s license plate as it passes underneath the new structure.
If a driver has an EZ-Pass tag, the toll will be charged to their account immediately.
If a driver does not have an EZ-Pass tag, a bill will be sent to the vehicle owner’s residence within 30 days.
Included in the initiative are the the RFK, Verrazano-Narrow, and Rockaway bridges which begin open road tolling on Sunday, April 30.
The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel have had cashless tolling since January.
According to Governor Cuomo, open road tolling is expected to streamline commutes and reduce inconvenience when using bridges and tunnels.
The method is expected to save commuters 21 hours of drive time per year, one million gallons in gas annually and $2.3 million in gas per year.
Even though motorists no longer have to stop at tolls, that doesn’t mean they have a free pass to forget to pay tolls.
If motorists do not pay their tolls in a timely manner, the first fine is $50.
If motorists continues to forego payment late fees can accrue to as much as $100.
In the case of commercial vehicles, registrations will be suspended if unpaid tolls exceed $200.
Also, if a driver passes through a toll with a suspended registration, cameras will capture the license plate, immediately alert the state trooper on site and that officer will pull over the driver.
In addition to the tolls, there will also be beautification upgrades at each of the new tolling stations under the governor’s ‘New York Crossings Project.’
Each of the stations will receive LED lighting, LED message boards and artwork made from chainmail fabric.