With the new All Electronic Tolling, or AET, system on the Massachusetts Turnpike going live tonight, demolition work to tear down toll booths on the Turnpike begins this Sunday, according to MassDOT.
The 23 toll booths are not necessary now that a new electronic system along the east-west highway that runs the length of the state from Boston to New York state border is going into effect.
Already installed gantries along the Pike, Tobin Bridge and Boston tunnels will read E-Z Pass transponders mounted on windshields. They will also photograph license plates and automatically send bills to drivers who don’t have E-Z Pass transponders.
“Toll plaza demolition activities will include removal of the existing toll booth structures, access tunnels, parking lots, and toll plaza buildings,” a MassDOT document states. “The roadway will be reconstructed to accommodate vehicles using the new roadway alignment.”
The $132.82-million project that includes six contractors will begin in the middle of the toll booths as drivers are directed around the work. Contractors will begin by knocking down the booths and fill in the tunnels connecting the booths before paving the highway.
MassDOT says this first phase of the project will be completed by Nov. 22, at which point the second phase to remove the outer toll booths will begin. The second phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
The video linked here demonstrates new traffic patterns that will divert drivers away from the demolition work. Traffic speeds will be reduced near the toll booths during demo work and state troopers will be on hand as well.
According to MassDOT documents, JH Maxymillian Inc. will conduct work on two interchanges, the Middlesex Corp will work on five interchanges and Skanska McCourt JV will demolish seven toll plazas. DW White Construction Inc. will demo three plazas and SPS New England Inc. will demolish five.