PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s now been a month since Rhode Island started tolling tractor trailers and the director of the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) tells Eyewitness News it’s been a smooth process thus far.
The one-month mark of the rollout also started the public comment period for the next 10 toll gantries slated to be built on area roadways. Members of the public can send in their concerns to RIDOT and read more about the plan on the agency’s website.
“People have 30 days to comment on the environmental assessment that we have made,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said Thursday.
- PDF: Environmental assessment for next toll locations »
- PDF: Truck tolling project fact sheet »
- PDF: Form to submit comments and feedback »
The environmental assessment will also be posted at public libraries around the state, according to RIDOT.
Toll gantries 3, 4, and 6-13 will be located on I-95, I-195, I-295, US Route 6, and RI Route 146 in the towns of Providence, Warwick, Pawtucket, Cranston, Johnston, Cumberland, East Providence, Lincoln, and North Smithfield.
Comments can also be submitted at public hearings scheduled for July 27 at 6 p.m. at the following locations:
- Mount Pleasant High School, 434 Mount Pleasant Ave., Providence, RI 02908
- Toll Gate High School, 575 Centerville Rd., Warwick, RI 02886
- Central Falls High School, 24 Summer St., Central Falls, RI 02863
Alviti explained that after the public comment period, RIDOT will submit its responses for review by the Federal Highway Administration to ensure all questions were raised and addressed. That, he said, could take another month.
After that, the final designs will be created and set in stone. By the fall, pending approval by the FHWA, the design of the next set of 10 gantries will be finalized and installed between the fall and end of 2019.
As for the current gantries in Hopkinton and Exeter, Alviti said RIDOT is still condensing data collected on the performance of the tolls for release next week, but from what he’s already reviewed, it is performing well and to expectations. That includes the data recording and billing process.
Alviti said there’s been no major glitches, adding that the systems “rolled out perfectly” and are “stable after a month of operation.”
Preliminary studies, according to Alviti, are being proven to be correct. The projected number of trucks passing through are very close to what is actually traveling through, showing that trucks are not diverting around the tolls on I-95 to avoid the charge. He expects the projected revenue is right on target, meaning “whatever $7.5 million divided by 12 is.” That would be about $625,000 in one month.
All revenue collected must be used for bridge and road repairs in the area of where the gantry is located, as a part of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Rhodeworks plan.