Cashless tolling to launch at George Washington Bridge next month

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced that a new electronic tolling system will be activated at the George Washington Bridge on Sunday, July 10.

The George Washington Bridge will be the largest and busiest of the agency’s three Hudson River crossings to completely modernise its tolling infrastructure to modern standards following activation of a similar system at the Holland Tunnel in December 2020.

A new cashless toll system at the agency’s remaining Hudson River crossing, the Lincoln Tunnel, will be implemented by the end of 2022.

The new system will capture license plate images to enable toll payment by mail for non-E-ZPass customers and will therefore eliminate the need for cash toll collection causing cause stop-and-go traffic at toll booths.

The agency previously completed the transition to all-electronic tolling at its three Staten Island bridges in 2019 and at the Holland Tunnel in 2020.

The Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners approved the new cashless tolling system for the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln and Holland tunnels in 2019.

The Port Authority first implemented the new system at the Bayonne Bridge in February 2017, the Outerbridge Crossing in April 2019, the Goethals Bridge in September 2019, and the Holland Tunnel in December 2020.

“Cashless transactions are no longer a thing of the future in this age of touchless financial transactions, and for non-E-ZPass customers that convenience of modern life has now come to our 90-year-old George Washington Bridge,” said Port Authority chairman Kevin O’Toole.

“We are extremely pleased with the activation of this best-in-class, all-electronic technology that will assure quick, accurate, electronic toll billing at the George Washington Bridge.”

The gantries housing the equipment that collects vehicle toll information were installed during weekend overnights at the upper and lower levels of the George Washington Bridge in May 2021, with crews using a hydraulic crane to lift pre-assembled 20-ton gantries approximately 22-25ft above the roadways.

The tolling equipment was installed at theGeorge Washington Bridge’s upper level of in October 2021, with the lower-level installation completed in January 2022.

Crews completed setup and configuration for the new tolling system in April 2022, while calibration and testing were finalised in June 2022.

Once the system is activated, drivers will not need to stop or slow on approach at the GWB toll booths.

Drivers without an E-ZPass account will have images of their license plate captured by overhead cameras, and a bill for the toll amount will then be sent by mail.

Additionally, the Tolls NY smartphone app (for iOS and Android users) provides 24/7 access to customer service for all cashless toll transactions and will eliminate the need to wait for bills in order to pay or access toll and payment history.

Once the system is fully activated, crews will demolish the existing toll booths and islands.

And due to the impracticality of determining electronically the number of passengers in a vehicle, the carpool discount plan will end at the GWB when the new toll system is implemented.

More than 49 million eastbound vehicles used the George Washington Bridge in 2021, accounting for about 42% of eastbound traffic across all six of the Port Authority’s vehicular crossings that year.

As a lifeline of the region’s commercial activity, the bridge is used by more trucks to cross the Hudson River into New York City than the agency’s other two Hudson River crossings combined.

To keep the bridge in a state of good repair throughout heavy daily usage, the Port Authority is in the midst of a US$2bn (£1.63bn) 11-project rehabilitation programme known as Restoring the George that renews or restores nearly every part of the bridge.

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