Bergen will have one-way tolls two years ahead of schedule
Acting Governor also announces Asbury Park, Raritan, Toms River
toll plazas will have Express E-ZPass in time for Memorial Day
Governor Richard J. Codey today announced he is accelerating the
addition of one-way tolling at the Garden State Parkway's Bergen
Toll Plaza. Workers will remove toll barriers from the plaza's southbound
lanes in time for Memorial Day 2006 - two years ahead of schedule.
Also today, Codey announced good news for this year's Memorial Day weekend commute: new Express E-ZPass lanes will be fully functional at the Parkway's Raritan, Asbury Park and Toms River toll plazas by May 25 - three days ahead of schedule, and just in time for the coming holiday weekend.
"Alternate tolls and Express E-ZPass have gone a long way toward making the Garden State Parkway better for commuters and better for visitors to the Jersey Shore," Codey said. "To make Memorial Day weekend more enjoyable now and in the future, we are going to get these improvements up and running on a quicker timetable."
The Bergen Toll Plaza, at mile marker 160.4, was not slated to benefit from one-way tolling until 2008. Codey today directed the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to expedite the process. As a result, contracts for design and construction will be issued later this year. Removal of toll barriers from the southbound lanes will begin in March 2006, and finish by Memorial Day 2006.
That will bring the Bergen Toll Plaza up to the same timeline as the Parkway's Great Egg, New Gretna and Cape May toll plazas, all of which will have one-way tolling in place by Memorial Day 2006.
New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere, New Jersey Turnpike Authority Chairman Joseph Simunovich, and New Jersey Turnpike Authority Executive Director Michael Lapolla joined Codey for today's announcement, held at the Bergen Toll Plaza.
"When Governor Codey directed us to accelerate the demolition of the Essex North plaza, it opened the door for moving up the demolition Bergen South Toll Plaza," Lettiere said. "We want to make these improvements as quickly as we can."
"Alternating One-Way Tolls have made a crucial difference in terms of reducing roadway congestion since they were introduced last year," Simunovich said. "It makes perfect sense to seize this opportunity to expedite the process of bringing them to Bergen County two years ahead of schedule."
Express E-ZPass at Asbury Park, Raritan, Toms River toll plazas
Codey also announced today that Express E-ZPass at the Parkway's Asbury Park, Raritan and Toms River toll plazas will be fully operational by May 25 - three days ahead of schedule, and just in time for this Memorial Day weekend.
Express E-ZPass allows E-ZPass users to travel through toll areas at normal driving speeds, thanks to the removal of certain toll barriers and the addition of E-ZPass sensors on an overhead gantry. Traditional E-ZPass and cash lanes will remain available for those who wish to use them.
Combined with the one-way tolling already in place at the Asbury Park and Raritan plazas, Express E-ZPass at the three locations will make it possible for an E-ZPass customer to drive more than 70 miles without slowing down to pay a toll.
Express E-ZPass will be available at the northbound lanes of the Asbury Park plaza, the southbound lanes at Raritan, and on both directions at Toms River.
Those locations will bring to seven the total number of toll plazas on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike that feature Express E-ZPass. In the near future, six additional Garden State Parkway toll plazas - including Bergen - will receive one-way tolls, Express E-ZPass or both.
Codey's announcement today was the latest in his commitment to expand one-way tolling and Express E-ZPass in New Jersey.
In March, Codey ordered the Turnpike Authority to accelerate the addition of one-way tolling at the Parkway's Essex Toll Plaza. The new plan calls for the demolition of toll barriers on the plaza's northbound lanes beginning July 15, for completion in approximately 60 days - more than two years ahead of schedule.
Codey also directed the Authority to develop a plan for the installation of alternate tolls at the Great Egg, New Gretna and Cape May toll plazas in 2006.
Earlier this month, Codey announced the Barnegat Toll Plaza will benefit from one-way tolling and Express E-ZPass as part of a new project to widen a 17-mile stretch of the Parkway in Ocean County. That project will add a 12-foot-wide travel lane and a 12-foot-wide shoulder on both the northbound and southbound sides of the Parkway, from Interchange 63 to Interchange 80.
Codey's larger initiative to ease the flow of traffic throughout New Jersey includes the plan to widen a 20.1-mile stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike, from Interchange 8A in Middlesex County to Interchange 6 in Burlington County.