Tolls, tolls, tolls: New, updated and proposed toll roads in three states

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Three states from the Rockies to the Atlantic have new tolls in the works. Tolls have been set on Colorado’s Interstate 70 mountain express lane, and Oklahoma has installed its first electronic-only toll booth. Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Transportation has proposed new toll roads along Interstate 4.

In Colorado, a 13-mile stretch of eastbound I-70 from U.S. 40 at Empire Junction to the Veterans Memorial Tunnels will include an express lane during peak travel periods, including weekends and holidays. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, operation of the express lane is limited to 72 days of the year.

Only vehicles with two axles or less than 25 feet in length are allowed in the express lane. Those exiting to U.S. 6 at Floyd Hill, using Exit 244 from I-70 eastbound, can use the far left lane to exit without being charged the toll. Rates range from $3 to $15 for ExpressToll account holders and are yet to be determined for non-ExpressToll users.

In Oklahoma, the Peoria/Elm toll booth on the Creek Turnpike will go all-electronic, according to KOTV. The Pike Pass plaza will be the first all-electronic toll booth in the state. Pending the success of the Peoria/Elm toll booth, additional all-electronic toll booths are being considered throughout the state.

Florida’s Department of Transportation has plans to install a toll road on I-4 in Tampa Bay. If all goes as planned, the new toll would occur on a 22.1-mile stretch near the downtown interchange from east of 50th Street to the Polk Parkway in Hillsborough County and Polk County.

New toll lanes will be installed next to existing non-toll lanes in the two counties. SunPass transponder users will have the option of using the toll lane for a faster commute. An FDOT spokesperson told Land Line that they are still doing revenue studies and have not yet proposed toll rates. Rates will be based on dynamic pricing, which ebbs and flows based on demand.

According to an FDOT public hearing notice, the department is also considering a “no-build” alternative. In this plan, no additional costs or effects will come as a result. However, the needs established by a Project Development and Environment study will not be met, as they will be with the proposed express toll lanes.

Estimated costs for the new express lanes would total just under half a billion dollars. Still in the early stages of planning, there is no set date for the next phase of the project.

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