TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) – The Florida Department of Transportation says paying cash for tolls on the Veterans Expressway is going way soon – soon as in this begin at 9 p.m., Friday, June 13. This is the latest phase of conversion of the Florida’s Turnpike system to all-electronic toll collection.
DOT: All, after conversion, the most important thing for drivers to know is DO NOT STOP in the lane to look for instructions, collection baskets or payment envelopes. There won’t be any and the driver behind you will not be expecting it. The second most important thing is to adhere to the posted mph speed limit. FHP will be on hand to keep traffic moving.
Construction crews will work overnight as they decommission all cash tollbooths and coin baskets at the Anderson mainline toll plaza, and the Waters and Hillsborough Avenue ramp toll plazas. By Saturday morning, June 14, once the conversion to all-electronic tolling is complete, motorists on the Veterans Expressway will pay tolls with either SunPass or TOLL-BY-PLATE.
On Friday night, June 13, northbound motorists should be alert for an overnight detour, beginning at Midnight, between Waters Avenue and Gunn Highway. On Saturday night, June 14, southbound motorists should be alert for an overnight detour between Gunn Highway and Waters Avenue beginning at 9 p.m. The detours are necessary for final equipment installation and calibration. Additional detours between Gunn Highway and Waters Avenue are scheduled both north- and southbound, overnight, June 18-19, northbound, overnight on June 20-21, and southbound, overnight on June 21-22. Once work in the lanes is complete, the lanes will reopen to traffic.
Complete removal of the toll plaza structures at the Anderson mainline toll plazas is anticipated to take several months.
The installation of new ramp toll gantries, demolition of ramp toll plazas and removal of existing toll booths are anticipated to continue for the duration of the toll conversion project, currently scheduled for completion by the late fall of 2014.
Conversion to no-cash, all-electronic tolling will follow later this summer, weather permitting, at the following locations:
· Hutchison Road
· Sugarwood Mainline TollPlaza
· Gunn Highway
The conversion to all-electronic tolling is part of the $380,000 million widening of the Veterans Expressway. This is the first major construction project on the Veterans portion of Toll 589 since it opened on October 2, 1994.
The SunPass Mini transponder costs $4.99 and is available at thousands of retail locations including Publix Super Markets, CVS/pharmacy, Amscot, all AAA locations in Florida, all Turnpike service plaza gift shops and Turnpike convenience stores. It is also available at www.SunPass.com and at 1-888-TOLL-FLA(865-5352).
In the Tampa Bay area, all-electronic tolling went into effect on the Selmon Expressway in 2010, the Turnpike’s newly-opened I-4 Connector in December 2013, statewide on the southern portion of the Turnpike in Miami-Dade County in 2011, and in April 2014 on the Sawgrass Expressway in Broward County.
Photo Credit 970 WFLA/K. Norman