Sunday/Monday closures to remove remnants of stop-to-pay toll collection in Dallas TX
By Peter Samuel
North Texas Tollway will be doing full road closures on two Sundays and partial closures the following Mondays and Tuesdays to expedite removal of the remnants of two mainline toll plazas on the Dallas North Tollway. All cash toll collection ceased December 11, 2010 on the Dallas North Tollway, the Addison Airport Toll Tunnel and the Mountain Creek Lake Bridge. That was the last of cash collection on the large Dallas area toll system.
Going cashless means all-electronic tolls (AET) either by radio signal reads of a vehicle mounted transponder or - for vehicles without a transponder - getting pictures of the vehicle including its license plate for motor registry lookup and billing of the owner, all performed at full highway speed in regular travel lanes. Equipment is mounted on gantries overhead and in the pavement underneath.
The big President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT or TX190) went all-electronic/cashless in 2009, and the Sam Rayburn Tollway (TX121) was built and opened all-electronic and cashless.
On going cashless on the PGBT they just barriered off the cash toll lanes leaving in place toll booths, canopies and other structures (see an overhead picture nearby.) The PGBT was built with open road tolling from the start with generous highway speed lanes matching the number of travel lanes and standard shoulder space. Cash structures on the sides obstructed nothing.
The Dallas North Tollway (DNT) by contrast is an older and tighter layout and was originally built with conventional all-stop-to-pay mainline toll plazas except for the most recent and northerly Eldorado Plaza #4. On the others open road tolling was retrofitted but the configuration was tight, and ORT lane numbers were generally one less than the travel lanes (2 vs 3).
The far southern toll plaza Wycliff Av (DNT-ML#1) has already been cleaned up for AET, following a decision not to repair damage done to the toll plaza a couple of years ago by a runaway dumpster truck.
And the far northern Eldorado Pkwy (DNT-ML#4) toll plaza was built the generously dimensioned open road lanes in the style of PGBT toll plazas. The work to be done this weekend and next is at the Keller Springs (DNT-ML#2) and Parker Rd (DNT-ML#3) - the two middle mainline plazas.
They went cashless by directing some traffic through old single toll lanes.
Therefore going all-electronic safely on the older DNT makes it more urgent to make clear space than on the PGBT and the far northern plaza #4. And space is made by demolitions of the old toll plaza structures.
A statement today by NTTA says: "Demolition of these structures is a critical piece in the conversion to cashless tolling. Upon completion of the demolitions, three continuous, unimpeded lanes will be open along the entire length of the tollway."
Almost the whole length of the three NTTA tollroads is three main lanes each direction, although in places they are paralleled by one or two untolled frontage road lanes on each side.
Demolition of the mainline plaza at Parker Road (north- and southbound) is scheduled for 5am on Sunday Jan 2 through 5am Tuesday, Jan 4.
The demolition will include removal of the overhead canopies and structures around the old toll booths.
Sunday, Jan 2, beginning 5am there will be full road closure north- and southbound between Parker Road and Park Boulevard for demolition of the Parker Road #3 mainline plaza.
Monday, Jan 3 by 6am they plan to have one lane open (southbound only) between Parker Road and Park Boulevard.
Monday, Jan 3 by 2pm they hope to have one lane open (northbound) between Park Boulevard and Parker Road
Tuesday, Jan 4 by 5am they aim for three lanes open northbound and southbound between Parker Road and Park Boulevard
DNT between the old Keller Springs Road ramps and the Belt Line Road ramps similar demolition of the mainline plaza #2 at Keller Springs Road is scheduled for 9am Saturday, Jan 8, through 5am Monday, Jan 10.
There will be a full road closure for both directions of traffic between the old Keller Springs Road ramps and the Belt Line Road ramps.
Saturday, Jan 8, from 9am until Sunday, Jan 9 at 3pm there will be full road closure both directions of travel between the Keller Springs Road and the Belt Line Road ramps
Sunday, Jan 9, from 3pm until Monday, Jan 10, 5am one lane only each direction between Keller Springs Road ramps and Belt Line Road ramps
50% premium for camera toll
NTTA is charging 50% more in tolls for camera tolling via license plate (called Zio Cash) on the basis that collection costs are higher. Use of transponders covers around 80% of transactions.
TERMINOLOGY: NTTA and other Texas tollers tend to use the term 'main lane' toll plaza. We use the more widespread term 'mainline' toll plaza, that probably derives from railroad language.
Both mean exactly the same - a toll plaza across the mainline or main lanes of the highway as opposed to a plaza or toll point located off the mainline but rather on entry or exit ramps.