Turnpike Route 66 in Westmoreland, plaza at Ohio border to go cashless
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is converting two more toll plazas — Gateway at the Ohio border and the Route 66 bypass in Westmoreland County — into cashless collection sites.
According to the Turnpike’s cashless tolling website, the plazas will be converted by Oct. 27.
The change is part of an ongoing initiative by the turnpike commission to modernize toll plazas. Officials said the over 30 agencies in 14 states that have converted are seeing improvements in safety for drivers who do not have to change lanes in compressed areas.
“Cashless tolling has been adopted by dozens of agencies across the United States because of the improved safety and mobility it provides,” CEO Mark Compton said in a news release. “Everyone pays electronically, so there’s no need to stop; all motorists benefit from the convenience of uninterrupted travel. Plus, interchange safety is improved since cash-paying and E-ZPass customers no longer need to dart across tollbooth traffic to get in the correct lane.”
Drivers without an E-ZPass transponder who go through a cashless toll plaza will have their license plate scanned by mounted cameras. A Toll by Plate bill will be mailed to the driver within two weeks that can then be paid online, over the phone or through the mail. The bill lists the exits taken by the driver, along with the date and time.
Drivers who do have a transponder — about 85% — will continue using the plazas as usual.
On the Pennsylvania Turnpike 66, also known as the Greensburg Bypass, the toll plaza and four ramp plazas will become no cash zones. At the Gateway, along Interstate 76 eastbound in Lawrence County, customers will stay on the main road and use existing express lanes, no longer veering to the right to travel through cash lanes.
Cashless tolls were first introduced at Franklin County’s Willow Hill Interchange (exit 198) in 2015. Plazas that have gone cashless since include the Findlay Connector in Allegheny and Washington counties, the Beaver Valley Expressway in Beaver and Lawrence counties, the Clarks Summit/Keyser Avenue exit in Lackawanna County and the Delaware River Bridge in Philadelphia County.
Officials said full-time employees working at the two locations will be relocated to other area toll plazas.
“After the upcoming cashless conversions this fall, the remaining sections of the east-west mainline and the Northeastern Extension are scheduled to be converted to cashless in late 2022,” Compton said. “The Mon/Fayette Expressway in southwest PA is scheduled to be converted to cashless in early 2022.”
Compton added that a 13-mile Southern Beltway project between Route 22 and Interstate 79 in Allegheny and Washington counties will open in 2021 with cashless tolling.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .