NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) will soon be adding additional tolling lanes to the Newport Pell Bridge.
The tolling lanes on both directions will be expanded to two lanes beginning Nov. 11. RITBA said, though the outermost lanes on each side will remain closed for the time being.
“We are pleased that the transition to all-electronic tolling is complete and we are able to increase
the number of open-road tolling lanes available to motorists,” RITBA Executive Director Lori Caron Silveira said.
The switch to all-electronic tolling was completed in late October. Caron Silveira said not only will all-electronic tolling be safer for drivers, it’ll also be better for the environment.
“Vehicles won’t have to worry about changing lanes or hesitating and slowing down,” she explained, adding that cars not having to come to a complete stop will prevent them from idling.
Caron Silveira said both the on- and off-ramps to and from Jamestown will not be impacted by the switch. In fact, she said they will be made accessible through the new tolling lanes with painted markers.
RITBA said all vehicles equipped with an E-ZPass transponder will be charged at a discounted rate. Those that aren’t equipped with one will receive an invoice in the mail for $2 per axle ($4 per passenger car).
Starting Dec. 1, RITBA said the toll for vehicles without an E-ZPass will increase to $3 per axle ($6 per passenger car).
Drivers with an invalid E-ZPass will not be charged to their accounts and will instead receive an invoice in the mail requesting payment.
Caron Silveira said 88% of drivers already have an E-ZPass transponder. She is encouraging all Rhode Islanders, even those who don’t frequently pass over the bridge, to equip their cars with an E-ZPass transponder not only for the discount, but to also make all-electronic tolling easier for everyone involved.
When asked about long-term plans for the tolling plaza, Silveira said they’re looking into demolishing it altogether. If approved, Caron Silveira said the tolling plaza would be demolished in 18 months, though the plan is still in its early stages.