The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has announced an aggressive construction timeline that will allow full-time all-electronic (cashless) tolling to be in place at the Bay Bridge by this summer. Beginning this month, motorists will see demolition of some of the existing toll booths to create wider lanes at the Bay Bridge plaza in preparation for all-electronic tolling. On the Eastern Shore side of the bridge, crews also will prepare for installation of overhead tolling gantries between the Bay Bridge and MD 8 on Kent Island. Toll operations will no longer exist approaching the bridge from Annapolis once the overhead tolling gantries are operational on Kent Island. Motorists traveling eastbound will be tolled as they get off the bridge.
“We know motorists who use the Bay Bridge are ready to embrace all-electronic tolling,” said MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports. “This past fall, Governor Hogan asked us to initiate cashless tolling at the bridge as soon as possible. This schedule will allow us to fulfill that mission, and this project is the next logical step as Maryland toll facilities move toward an all-electronic system.”
With all-electronic tolling, cash is not accepted as payment. Drivers do not have to stop to pay tolls, as overhead gantries collect tolls electronically by E-ZPass® or Video Tolling. The benefits of all-electronic tolling include less idling time for better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, decreased congestion, increased driver safety and a safer work environment for employees.
Construction to implement full-time all-electronic tolling at the Bay Bridge will start the evening of Sunday, January 12, when toll lanes 3, 4 and 5 permanently close to allow workers to dismantle the toll booths in those lanes. Minimal traffic impact is expected. Motorists will use the remaining open toll lanes.
During construction, it is critical drivers obey all roadway signs and speed limits, as the plazas will remain active work zones. While all-electronic tolling will be fully implemented by summer, remnants of the toll plaza will remain until 2022, when demolition and roadway reconstruction will be complete.
At the Bay Bridge, 74 percent of its drivers are already E-ZPass® customers. To prepare for the summer implementation of all-electronic tolling, MDTA is expanding its marketing and outreach efforts to encourage motorists to sign up for E-ZPass®. Standard E-ZPass® transponders are free, and there is no monthly fee for customers with Maryland addresses.
Motorists should sign up now to start immediately saving on tolls and no later than spring to be ready for cashless tolling. Sign up at ezpassmd.com or by visiting E-ZPass® Maryland Customer Service Centers at MDTA toll facilities, at many Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) locations and at retail partners. A full list of locations is available at the ezpassmd.com website. E-ZPass® Maryland customers receive discounts at most state toll facilities. At the Bay Bridge, the two-axle E-ZPass® Maryland toll rate is $2.50, and the two-axle Video Toll rate is $6. Bay Bridge commuter plans also are available and provide additional discounts.
The E-ZPass® Outreach Bus is now at the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Company on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. through January. E-ZPass® “On the Go” transponders are available with a credit or debit card.