As spring approaches, removal of remaining Thruway toll booths begins

PETER R. BARBER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERThe toll plaza at Thruway Exit 24 had been mostly removed on Nov. 21, 2020.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

PETER R. BARBER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The toll plaza at Thruway Exit 24 had been mostly removed on Nov. 21, 2020.

ALBANY — The remaining toll booths at state Thruway entrance/exit plazas will be removed starting this week.

When the Thruway system went to all-electronic toll collection last autumn, the now-unneeded booths were removed from Exit 24 Exit 25, and four other high-volume plazas before work was halted due to cold weather and the potential for snowfall.

This week, the work resumes. Seven interchanges initially are targeted for toll booth removal and pavement reconstruction, or just repaving if the booths previously were removed. Four are in the Capital Region: Exit 23, Exit 25A, Exit B2 and the Canaan Toll Barrier.

When the work is completed by the end of the summer, about 230 toll booths at 52 toll plazas will have been removed, marking the end of a $355 million project to take the nation’s longest toll highway cashless.

The move was designed to decrease pollution and delays at toll plazas by eliminating motorists’ slowdown and acceleration before and after toll booths, and the traffic jams that sometimes result.

With it ended the job title of New York state Thruway toll collector, a battalion of men and women who took payments for 66 years.

At plazas where toll booths are still in place, or where construction work is underway, motorists are required to drive through slowly. Once the booths are gone and the work is complete, they can pass under the license-plate cameras and E-ZPass scanners at highway speeds, and either have the toll deducted from their E-ZPass account or get a bill in the mail.

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