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New Turnpike Toll Plaza In York Opens Wednesday

In July 2006, the Maine Turnpike Authority announced plans to replace its aging York toll plaza with the highway's first "open road tolling" system.

Overhead sensors would deduct toll payments from drivers with E-Z pass as they drove by at highway speed.

But fervent opposition from people, and officials in York, who didn't want the toll plaza moved, forced delays that lasted years.

The new toll plaza that goes into service Wednesday won't be the highway's first with "open road tolling." In fact, it will be next to last (work continues on a new plaza at the West Gardiner / I-295 entrance).

The new toll plazas will have booths outside of the travel lanes for drivers paying by cash.

While E-Z Pass drivers will be able to drive under the new overhead toll collectors at highway speed, they will still have to slow down, for a time at the old plaza.

Turnpike Authority spokeswoman Erin Courtney says it will take about a year to full demolish the old plaza.

And drivers will face lane shifts as work proceeds to demolish the old booths, a tunnel that ran under them, and restore the pavement. While the old toll booths stood on pilings, Courtney says the land around it has been sinking at about half-an-inch a year.