Daily News Briefs, April 10, 2017

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IL Tollway's $2.5 Billion Jane Addams Tollway Rebuild and Smart Road Installation Earns Props

WBEZ looks at the Illinois Tollway’s investment in “smart road technology” as part of the massive $2.5 billion project to “replace, expand and update the entire [Jane Addams Memorial Tollway] for the first time since original construction in 1958.” The smart road technology accounts for $33 million of the project cost.

Illinois Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


WV Lawmakers, Governor Agree to Hold Referendum on $1.6 Billion in Bonds for Roads, Bridges

Associated Press reports, “West Virginia lawmakers have agreed to hold a voter referendum this year on issuing $1.6 billion in bonds to rebuild state highways and bridges. The House has adopted the Senate language for the referendum that removes references to specific taxes.”

However, final highway funding and spending provisions for FY 2018 remain unsettled this morning. Intelligencer reports that state lawmakers passed budget bills over the weekend during an extended session, but their actions only set the stage for “a probable budgetary fight with Governor Jim Justice and a special legislative session in the coming days.”

West Virginia


San Clemente Residents Urge City Council to Continue Efforts to Block TCA Toll Road Proposals

San Clemente Times reports, “Dressed in blue to signify unity in opposition to the toll road,” members of the public last week urged the San Clemente City Council “to continue its efforts in blocking the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) latest toll road proposals. . . .” The newspaper adds, “Since last summer, when the TCA debuted its latest ideas for possible toll roads through, around or near San Clemente, many residents have been up in arms about what could be.” City officials have asked TCA to consider “arterial route” alternatives to constructing a toll road.

California Transportation Corridor Agencies (CA)


Bridge Condition and Funding Problems Face Cape May County (NJ) Officials

The Press of Atlantic City reports, “Cape May County relies on its [toll] bridges. Thousands of tourists use them to reach the county’s barrier islands, and locals use them every day. But in recent months, structural problems have plagued the bridges, many of which are aging and in need of frequent repair.”

Cape May County (NJ) Bridge Commission New Jersey


Garden State Parkway's Exact Change Machines Spark Complaints. NJTA Proposes Buying New Equipment This Year.

Asbury Park Press reports that drivers are complaining about collection machine malfunctions in Garden State Parkway exact-change lanes. The turnpike authority’s Tom Feeney tells the newspaper the machines are well maintained, but “getting close to the end of their useful lives.” He adds, “The Authority has budgeted money to replace them” and procurement is likely to begin this year.

New Jersey New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)


Maine Turnpike Starts $17 Million Project to Provide Highway-Speed E-ZPass Connection to I-295

Portland Press-Herald reports that construction begins today “on a new, wider E-ZPass toll plaza at Exit 44 of the Maine Turnpike that will allow highway-speed connection to Interstate 295 near the Maine Mall. . . . The $17.4 million project will be just north of the existing toll plaza and south of I-295 Exit 1. It will include four highway-speed lanes – two in each direction – for E-ZPass customers.” Cash toll collection will continue in adjacent lanes.

E-ZPass Maine Turnpike Authority


DRJTBC Sets Record Highs for Traffic, Toll Transactions in 2016

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced new record highs for traffic volumes and toll transactions in 2016. According to a news release, “Nearly 144.5 million crossings were recorded at the Commission’s 18 vehicular bridges last year, – marking the second consecutive year that the bistate transportation agency attained a new traffic-volume peak.”

Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC)


Regional Planning Agency Studies New PA Turnpike Ramps in Western PA

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, “A longstanding discussion about turnpike ramps in two Westmoreland County communities has been revived by a study of what it would take to build them. The Pennsylvania Turnpike travels through Penn and Mt. Pleasant townships but does not have an interchange in either. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission highlighted both locations in a recent study into the impact of cashless tolling.”

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


KTA Conducts Online Poll about Services for Motorists

KWCH reports, “The Kansas Turnpike Authority is seeking public input on the Kansas Turnpike and the services drivers can find while driving on the Turnpike.” Click here to see the survey questionnaire.

Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA)


RMTA CEO Resigns

Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority  board accepted the resignation of CEO Angela Gray with thanks for her “leadership over the past four years as she has successfully navigated the RMTA.” The newspaper adds that the board will appoint an interim CEO as Gray’s immediate replacement.

Richmond (VA) Metropolitan Transportation Authority (RMTA)


Driver of Muscle Car Clocked at 158 MPH on ITR Says He Was Just Helping a Buddy

Post-Tribune (via Chicago Tribune) reports, “Christopher Garza said he knows he shouldn’t have been driving his muscle car at 158 mph . . . on the Indiana Toll Road near Gary — he just wanted to help his buddy clear his mind by showing him how fast his new ride could go. When the 30-year-old from Chicago passed an Indiana State Trooper squad car, he decided to slow down and own up, he said.”


NCDOT Wants Minor Changes in I-77 Express Construction Zone to Improve Safety

Charlotte Observer reports, “The N.C. Department of Transportation said Friday [April 7] it will make several small changes in the Interstate 77 construction zone to improve safety, but it won’t lower the speed limit. State traffic engineers recently drove the 26-mile work zone after there were an unusually large number of crashes on the highway. Many of the changes involve having more and better signs designating the area as a construction zone.”

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)


INDOT Gets Negative Public Feedback on Tolling of Final I-69 Segment

Daily Journal reports that INDOT is presenting for public comment the proposed route for the final section of I-69 (from Martinsville to I-465). Will the department include tolls in the project’s funding plan? Not if the people who attended a public meeting in Johnson County last week have their way.



VDOT Tests "Zipper Merge" Pattern for Construction Zones

WVIR reports, “Virginia Department of Transportation is studying a new merge pattern called the ‘zipper merge” that could ease heavy traffic in construction zones.”

Virginia Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


Montreal Mayor Supports Congestion Pricing

CTV News Montreal reports that Mayor Denis Coderre, though an outspoken opponent of tolling the Champlain Bridge replacement, does support congestion pricing as a method of reducing traffic flow into downtown Montreal and raising funds for public transportation.

Canada Congestion Pricing


BC Liberal Party Promises to Cap Vancouver Bridge Tolls. Opposition Pledges to Eliminate Tolls on Two Bridges.

Vancouver Sun reports that the British Columbia Liberal Party, the province’s governing party, unveiled a pledge [yesterday, April 9] that said if they are re-elected, motorists won’t have to pay more than $500 a year to cross the region’s toll bridges.” Not to be outdone, the opposition BC New Democratic Party announced a proposal to “eliminate the toll on the Port Mann bridge and the Golden Ears bridge altogether.”

British Columbia Canada