Toll plazas along the Massachusetts Turnpike will collect their last tolls at 9:45 p.m. on Friday. At 10 p.m., overhead electronic tolling gantries will be switched on.
But that doesn’t mean toll booths will be gone overnight.
“All the components of the toll plaza will be removed - the canopy overhead, the booths, as well as the tunnel system and the stairs that go down into the tunnel system,” MassDOT Electronic Tolling Project Manager Andy Paul said.
And that will be a two stage process – the first stage of which will be a huge headache for commuters come Monday morning.
“Think about this as you would a snow storm and plan ahead,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin.
Tinlin says traffic will be funneled into the wider outside EZ Pass lanes, as work begins to deconstruct the center of the toll plazas.
“We all know that construction disrupts traffic,” said Tinlin, “and we will have 23 construction zones at the same time.”
Tinlin says there will be more than 200 state police details on a 24 hour basis, as well as orange barrels and jersey barriers to direct traffic to the appropriate lanes until the first stage of the project is completed.
“Per the contract, no later than November 22nd traffic will be channeled back into the center lanes in their final lane configurations.”
And if you don’t have an EZ Pass transponder yet, don’t panic.
Tinlin says EZ Pass service centers will have extended hours and additional staff, and there will be a grace period if you don’t receive your transponder in time.
“When they get their bill,” said Tinlin, “we can change that bill to give them the EZ Pass Mass rate and prorate whatever transactions that they have on there.”
By Nov. 22 each of the toll plazas, except the Sumner Tunnel, will be in their final traffic configuration.
The Sumner Tunnel will not be tackled until the Spring.
The plan is to have all of the toll plazas completely gone by the end of 2017.