Toll-Free Holidays? Bridges won't charge to cross until testing - News, Weather & Sports

Toll-Free Holidays? Bridges won't charge to cross until testing finishes

(Source: WAVE 3 News) (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Prospect's Arnold Zegart is no procrastinator. He has his tolling transponder. But he's glad he trusted his gut.

"Looked like it was on correct," Zegart said Wednesday. “But, when I went out, after putting it in, it didn't clear the tinted window. I didn't think it would register."

Double-checking at the RiverLink office at 400 E. Main Street showed he was right.

It's fixed. But the line to register showed a lot of us aren't ready to go.

"Anybody who has ordered a RiverLink local transponder or a RiverLink EZ transponder to date should feel very confident," Ohio River Bridges Project spokeswoman Mindy Peterson said. "They will have them before tolling begins."

Wednesday, the Joint Tolling Authority learned why they won't have a firm date for that yet.

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"The live testing of the system is still underway," INDOT's Clint Murphy told the panel.

The $12.5 million capture cameras are up on the Kennedy and Lincoln Bridges downtown, and most are in place on the East End Crossing.

Testing began six months ago, but on a simulation track in New York, Murphy said. Everybody expected to find bugs, but not necessarily the bugs found.

Board members declined to say whether that will push the start date past Christmas, as first projected, or before - a revision borne from optimism when Walsh Construction earned a substantial bonus by finishing several weeks early.

"Tolling will begin when testing ends," Peterson said.

That's hardly a license to wait. Having your transponder in place will cut your crossing charge in half to $2. Not registering at all will cost you $4.

A frequent crosser discount kicks in when you reach 40 crossings per month, the equivalent of back-and-forth in four to five day work weeks.

Of the 70,000 drivers who've registered and ordered transponders, roughly one-fifth have opted for the EZPass, good in multiple states.

"Some may not get (the EZPass) when tolling begins, but they won't risk losing their discount, if they've ordered it," Peterson said.

INDOT and KYTC will have a grace period to resolve such complications.

Janet Mattern doesn't believe in it, though she's yet to register through RiverLink.

"I was going to get one today," she said. "But there's a line. And no methodology of who's next in line. So I left."

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