Daily News Briefs, November 28, 2023

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15/91 Express Connector Makes Travel Within Congested SoCal Region Reliable

The Press-Enterprise reports on last week’s opening of the 15/91 Express Lanes Connector in southern California. The two-year, $270 million project created a seamless transition between the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) I-15 express lanes and the I-91 express lanes jointly operated by RCTC and the Orange County Transportation Authority. The new infrastructure enables express lane users to travel between the two facilities without having to merge into general purpose lanes. According to Riverside County Supervisor (and RCTC second vice-chair) Karen Spiegel, the connector supplied “a vital missing piece” of 91 Express and made reliable trips possible within and outside Riverside County. The newspaper notes that the connector was the third in a series of infrastructure projects undertaken by RCTC to facilitate travel in the congested highway corridor between Riverside and Orange Counties.

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) California Express Lanes I-15 & SR 91 Express Lanes (OCTA & RCTC) I-15 Express Lanes (Riverside County, CA) Orange County Transportation Authority (CA) Riverside County (CA) Transportation Commission (RCTC)

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ICYMI: Kansas Turnpike Is Seeking Vendor Input On Customer Service Kiosk

The Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) has an open request for information (RFI) addressed to vendors interested in submitting information about a kiosk with the capability to accept customer back-office functions, bill payments and immediate toll transponder fulfillment. KTA’s intention is to understand how a kiosk can supplement a customer’s ability to continue to use cash to open and/or maintain their toll payment account and to have toll transponders issued from a machine. RFI responses are due by Friday, December 15, 2023, no later than 12:00 PM CST. The RFI document, which details requirements, is accessible online.

ETC Systems K-TAG Kansas Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) Procurement of Tolling Equipment & Services

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Rainbow Bridge Crash Investigation Expected To Be Lengthy

Niagara Gazette reports, “[I]t may be weeks or months — if ever — before members of the Niagara Falls [NY] Police Department’s Crash Management Unit determine what caused a 2022 Bentley Flying Spur to go airborne on the [approach to the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission’s Rainbow Bridge], crash and explode” on Thanksgiving Eve. State and federal teams last week quickly determined that the November 22 crash at the border crossing between the US and Canada was not an act of terrorism, but the extent to which the luxury vehicle was incinerated will make it hard to determine why it was speeding toward the toll bridge entrance before it veered into a barrier, took flight  and crashed into inspection booths. Autopsies are being performed on the two occupants of the car. A “black box” data recorder has not been recovered but is unlikely to have survived the heat from the ensuing explosion. Since mechanical failure of the vehicle is one possible explanation for the crash, officials are hopeful a Bentley Motors representative will participate in the investigation.

The New York Times has also been covering the circumstances surrounding the crash and the subsequent investigation.

A Slate columnist critiques US drivers’ risky love for speed and how the dangers of high-speed driving are “more or less ignored by plenty of drivers, automobile marketers, and road designers.” He notes that the “ultra-high-end Bentley” involved in Wednesday’s crash was equipped with a 542-horsepower engine, could travel from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, and had a reported top speed of 175 miles per hour, “90 miles per hour faster than the highest posted speed limit in all of America,” which is on the SH 130 toll road concession in Texas.

Canada Highway and Bridge Safety (Including COVID-19 Impacts) New York Niagara Falls Bridge Commission Ontario

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These are just some of the toll industry developments TRN is following.

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