NEW HOPE, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission recently hired an engineering firm to design an open-road cashless all-electronic tolling (AET) gantry slated for construction at the New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) Toll Bridge in 2025.

The envisioned gantry would be outfitted with E-ZPass toll-tag reading equipment and high-resolution cameras for capturing vehicle license plate images. It would replace the bridge’s legacy cash/E-ZPass toll-booth plaza that stopped handling cash transactions only two weeks ago as part of a multi-year system-wide conversion to strictly cashless toll collections.

The New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) toll-collection gantry design contract was awarded at the Commission’s June 24 meeting to Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP (RK&K) of King of Prussia, PA. for a not-to-exceed amount of $1,277,452.16. The contract will be funded through the Commission’s rolling capital improvement program, which is ultimately financed by the tolls collected at the Commission’s eight toll bridges.

The design work is expected to begin this month and reach completion by early winter. The resulting construction project would then be put out to bid for an anticipated contract award in early 2025 and execution during the ensuing 2025 construction season.

Among the major tasks to be performed by RK&K are the following:

  • Develop two protype toll gantry designs: one to be used in designs for low-traffic-volume toll bridges like New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) and a second to be used in designs for high-traffic-volume bridges like I-78;
  • Use the low-volume protype as the basis for final design of the cashless all-electronic gantry to be constructed next year at New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202);
  • Design the gantry so it will have two traffic lanes and flanking shoulders with its location immediately after the existing four-lane toll plaza;
  • Sequence anticipated construction in a manner that will have minimal traffic impacts;
  • Consider inclusion of stone facing in the gantry’s design so it can closely match the location’s existing administration building on the Pennsylvania side of the toll bridge;
  • Develop plans for removing the location’s existing barrier toll plaza;
  • Design an adjacent building that would house electronic tolling equipment and related infrastructure; and
  • Provide post-design services for evaluation of construction bids and execution of a resulting construction contract.

The recent design contract award is the latest step in a broader multi-year conversion of the Commission’s seven legacy cash/E-ZPass toll bridges to cashless AET collections. (Note: The Commission’s newest toll bridge – the Scudder Falls (I-295) Toll Bridge – was constructed with a cashless AET tolling system that has been in operation since July 2019.)

The phased-in conversion process to system-wide cashless toll collections at the DRJTBC began in January with the introduction of a TOLL BY PLATE payment option. TOLL BY PLATE involves the capturing of a vehicle’s license plate information so the registered owner can be mailed a bill for payment. TOLL BY PLATE rates are up to twice as much as E-ZPass due to the inherently higher costs of billing and processing payments.  The Commission’s TOLL BY PLATE car toll is $3, the same as the cash rate. In comparison, the E-ZPass car toll is $1.50.

On June 17, the Commission removed toll booth attendants and stopped handling cash transactions at New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) and two other low-traffic-volume toll bridges at Portland-Columbia (Routes 46, 611, and 94) and Milford-Montague (Route 206).

Cash collections are expected to end in January 2025 at the Commission’s four remaining tolling points, which are the high-traffic-volume toll bridges at Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1), I-78, Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22), and Delaware Water Gap (I-80).

The full conversion process ultimately will involve removals of old cash-E-ZPass toll-booth plazas at each toll bridge and corresponding erections of open-road overhead gantries outfitted with license-plate-reading cameras and electronic toll-tag readers. The plan is to convert each toll bridge one at a time over the next seven years, ending the entire system-wide conversion process by 2032.

The conversion to cashless AET is allowing the Commission to join ranks with a growing national trend in which toll agencies are ceasing cash collections and offering only all-electronic payment options that are safer, better for the environment, and less expensive to collect.

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