Veterans Expressway converting to electronic tolling - WFLA News Channel 8

Veterans Expressway converting to electronic tolling

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

You won't be digging for change on parts of the Veteran's Expressway anymore. Starting this weekend, the "cash only" lanes will switch to electronic tolling at Hillsborough Avenue, Waters Avenue, and Anderson Street. If you don't have a SunPass, you'll get a monthly bill in the mail with a $2.50 administration fee.

"If I don't have any change I have to stop at the gas station and get the change and then hop back on," Damien Cameron, a driver who uses the expressway daily, said. "They should've done this a long time ago. No one carries cash anymore."

Electronic tolling is part of a nationwide trend. Soon the entire Veteran's Expressway will be free of "cash only" lanes.  The completion of this phase of the project is currently scheduled for the late fall of 2014.  This would include the new ramp toll gantires, demolition of ramp toll plazas and removal of existing tolls booths.

The conversion to all electronic tolling is part of the $380 million widening of the Veterans Expressway.  This is the first part of the major construction project on the Veterans portion of Toll 589 since the Veterans opened in October of 1994.

According to DOT, between 79 and 84 percent of Veterans/Suncoast customers already use SunPass to pay their toll. More than 150,000 motorists use the Veterans Expressway every day. The goal is to make traveling quicker and safer.

"It helps cut down on accidents," Christa Deason, a DOT spokesperson said. "people get confused when they pull up and there are SunPass and "cash only" lanes. They slow down, switch lanes, and cause accidents."

Drivers taking the expressway for their daily commute Friday shouldn't be affected. The construction to get the old tolls off the road will start Friday night and go into Saturday morning.

Here's the detour information from the Department of Transportation : 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.

Copyright WFLA 2014. All rights reserved.

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