State DOT looking at toll booth options - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State DOT looking at toll booth options

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Connecticut officials are in the middle of a study that is focused solely on two of state's busiest highways - I-95 between New Haven and New York, and I-84 in Hartford.

"We're looking at a number of different measures for trying to relieve congestion," said Tom Maziarz, chief of planning for the state's Department of Transportation (DOT).

The most common theme in most of these measures include bringing tolls back to the state, where the last time drivers had to pay tolls in Connecticut was back in 1985.

In 1985, the state decided to remove manned toll booths after a car crash at an exit in Stratford that killed seven people.

DOT officials said over the years toll booths have made a dramatic transformation, where booths have been replaced by electronic sensors mounted overhead on special framework.

"All of the systems that are being put into place generally do not have any manned toll booths," Maziarz said, adding that most booths uses overhead devices, or gantries, where the speed limit passing under them can be between 60 and 70 mph.

This means no stopping or slowing down to pay, but some drivers said they aren't sure they can afford the new expense.

"My husband drives on the highways for his job, and I just don't think it would be a good idea," said Marie Morley of Meriden.

The DOT is looking into other options, like congestion pricing, where higher toll charges would happen during peak demand periods. Another option is called managed lanes, which would give drivers a choice where regular lanes remain free of charge but the express lane requires paying the toll.

The congestion study is expected to be released in January of 2015, and any plans regarding tolls would not happen until after that.

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