Turnpike tollgate construction in Trumbull County part of plan to shorten travel times
The construction of a new toll gate in Trumbull County is a glimpse of future driving along the Ohio Turnpike which will mean shorter travel times and toll-free driving on the pike through some parts of the Valley.
Work is underway at milepost 211 in Braceville Township on one of two new mainline toll plazas along the pike that will reduce the length of the traditional ticketed system and reduce the number of toll plazas from 31 to 24.
The design will allow trips for local travelers to enter and exit at or within Toll Plaza 216 (Route 45 Lordstown) through Toll Plaza 232 (Market Street Extension in Beaver Twp.) without traveling through a toll plaza.
For example, drivers traveling from the Market Street interchange in Beaver Township to the Niles-Youngstown, or to the Lordstown interchanges would no longer be charged a toll.
Existing Toll Plazas 215 (Lordstown) to 234 will be reconfigured during a future demolition phase, but they will remain open for travelers to enter and exit the Ohio Turnpike, but not as turnpike toll collection interchanges.
It’s all part of a plan to implement highway speed E-ZPass lanes at the Eastgate and Westgate Toll Plazas.
The highway speed E-ZPass lanes are often referred to as “Open Road Tolling” which would allow E-ZPass users who are traveling the full length of the Ohio Turnpike to travel non-stop, at 70 mph.
Under the modernized concept, a flat rate toll would be collected at the Westgate and Eastgate Toll Plazas.
The flat toll rate will reflect the approximate cost of trips between Westgate and the new mainline Toll Plaza at milepost 49 in western Ohio and trips between Eastgate and the new mainline Toll Plaza at milepost 211 in Braceville.
No tolls will be collected eastbound at the Eastgate Toll Plaza along the Ohio-Pennsylvania line.
In addition, the plan calls for the removal of toll lane gates from all Ohio Turnpike Toll Plaza entrance lanes and E-ZPass-Only exit lanes.
New license plate image capture cameras are planned for installation to catch any toll violators. Toll lane gates will be retained in non-E-ZPass exit lanes (cash and credit).
The Ohio Turnpike will continue to staff and operate its in-house E-ZPass Ohio Customer Service Center and plans to add staff to handle calls related to unpaid toll processing.
The plan is designed to eliminate gates in all dedicated E-ZPass lanes, allowing drivers to travel non-stop at low speeds in designated lanes at all remaining Toll Plazas 52 through 209).
The Turnpike Commission estimates that the project, estimated to cost between $204 million to $232 million, will save approximately $257 million in operating costs over 30 years because of the reduction in the number of Toll Plazas.
The operation of the new Toll Collection System is anticipated to begin in early 2023.