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Workers to install R.I.'s 3rd toll gantry over Rte. 6 in Providence

Providence Journal logo Providence Journal 7/10/2019 By Donita Naylor, Providence Journal
a large long train on a steel track: A truck passes one of two tolling gantries on Route 95 in Exeter and Hopkinton. A third gantry installed on Route 6 will begin tolling trucks on Aug. 13. [The Providence Journal, file / Steve Szydlowski]© The Providence Journal, file / Steve Szydlowski/Providence Journal/TNS A truck passes one of two tolling gantries on Route 95 in Exeter and Hopkinton. A third gantry installed on Route 6 will begin tolling trucks on Aug. 13. [The Providence Journal, file / Steve Szydlowski]

PROVIDENCE — A third truck-tolling gantry will be placed over a highway in Rhode Island by Wednesday morning, this one on Route 6 near Merino Park, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

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The vertical supports are in place just west of the bridge that carries Route 6 over the Woonasquatucket River, DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said, and the highway will be closed sometime after midnight for workers to install the crosspiece.

Electronic readers that recognize each truck's transponder and deduct $5 from its account, or that record the truck's license plate, were mounted on the crosspiece before it went up.

That gantry, known as toll location 13, will be tested for about a month. On Aug. 13, St. Martin said, tolling will start.

About $2.14 of each toll collected at location 13 will be applied to the repair and upkeep of that bridge. Toll location 14 was planned for less than a mile away, to collect for part of the realignment of routes 6 and 10, but further study showed that combining locations 13 and 14 would save nearly $2.5 million in construction and maintenance, so 14 will not be built, St. Martin said.

The state will pay the multinational company that designed and is installing the toll gantries, Kapsch TrafficCom, about $6.89 million a year for 10 years to operate and maintain them.

The first two gantries began collecting tolls in June 2018 on Route 95 near exits 2 (Hopkinton) and 5 (Exeter). Operating for just over a year, they have collected $7.2 million in 2.2 million transactions, St. Martin said. That money goes to repair three bridges nearby.

Only tractor-trailer rigs are tolled. Smaller trucks and passenger vehicles pass without having to pay.

Lawsuits sparked by the tolling plan are working through the courts. St. Martin said predictions that trucks would bypass the gantries by taking local roads did not prove true. "We're not seeing diversion," he said.

Raising the Route 6 gantry is about two weeks behind schedule, he said, because of problems in the steel industry. The state expects to install the nine remaining gantries at the rate of one per month.

Bridge repairs are part of RhodeWorks, a $4.9-billion plan to bring the state's roads into good condition by 2025. Tolls collected from large trucks are expected to pay about 10% of the cost.

dnaylor@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7411

On Twitter: @donita22

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©2019 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)

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