If you are one of the nearly 40,000 drivers who commute across the Causeway each day, change is on the way - the bridge is getting a new toll collection system.
Causeway general manager Carlton Dufrechou has high expectations for the project.
“This system should allow them to get on the bridge much more readily and cut out some of the backups they've experienced in the past because of failures of misreading tags or failures in the equipment,” Dufrechou said.
A lightening strike back in March knocked out all four lanes at the toll plaza. That's when the Causeway Commission realized the bridge needed a new system as soon as possible.
Right now, the Commission is in the process of revising a $2.5 million proposal from a New York-based company.
“The one that we are recommending is on the Golden Gate Bridge (and) Chesapeake Bay tunnel,” Dufrechou said. “It’s very reliable, very robust, even if we have adjacent lightening strikes.”
But some drivers don't see the need for change on the causeway. Others, though, have noticed the problems that the new system is intended to target.
Work is set to begin in just three weeks.
“We're going to add a fifth lane,” Dufrechou said. “That'll be the first major change that people actually see. Once that fifth lane is operational, we’ll progressively go one lane at a time so we'll always have four lanes open.”
The good news is the project is not expected to impact traffic. Officials say most of the work will be completed outside of normal commuting hours
Crews will begin installing the new toll equipment in the fall. The entire system is expected to completed by March of next year.
Dufrechou said the plan is to eventually transition from plastic toll tags to decals and work towards unmanned toll booths. For now, drivers can shorten the time it takes to pass through the plaza by putting toll tags on their windows.