Good Question: What's happening along the Thruway?

Brennan Somers
Updated: June 08, 2020 01:24 PM
Created: June 08, 2020 04:51 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Things are back to normal on the Thruway and if you're out driving, you may notice something different.

Soon, cash will no longer be an option to use the Thruway. The state is working on a $355 million project to convert the entire system to cashless tolling.


A viewer named Mary asked New10NBC’s Brennan Somers about the system saying: What is the purpose of the highway gantries that are being installed on the New York State Thruway? I understand they are installing ramp gantries and highway gantries. Seems to me only the ramp gantries would be needed for tolls.

Workers are building 70 gantries. They are toll readers that will read your E-ZPass or license plate.

"These gantries are a historic step as we build a modern Thruway of the future, serving hundreds of millions of motorists each and every year,” Executive Director of the Thruway Authority Matthew Driscoll said. “When completed motorists will enjoy nonstop travel easing congestion, enhancing safety and lowering emissions from idling."

Our area is going to be unique. Instead of gantries at the exits, they are going to be along the interstate itself near Rochester.

One of the first ones built covers the Thruway near LeRoy. It’s up, but it's not operational just yet.

While the gantries are already going up to the west of Rochester, most of the work to the east hasn't even started. Those spots are next and should be done by August.

The  NYS Thruway Authority has this message on its website about the next phase of the project before it goes live:

“Once all of the gantries are installed, system equipment will be installed on the gantries and testing will occur over several months. The system will go live all at once by the end of 2020.”

The group also has a notice for drivers about future payments:

“Motorists drive under a gantry 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 the toll. 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 of each vehicle. Customers who pay using Tolls By Mail will pay the same toll rate as previously paid by cash customers, and E-ZPass customers with New York accounts will continue to receive a five percent discount.”

Now, this is just Phase One of the project. Once the gantries are all built, they'll go back and put in all the equipment needed to work. The system will go live, at the same time, by the end of this year.

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