Beginning Jan. 1, 2013 the six toll roads in the Austin, TX, metro area will become all-electronic, with the last cash tolls collected on Dec. 31, 2012, according to Texas Dept. of Transportation.
The plan to go cashless includes three toll roads: the Loop-1 MoPac Extension, SH-45, and SH-130 Segments 1 thru 4 of the original Central Texas Turnpike System. They total 65 mi. of 2x2 and 2x3 lane toll expressway in the northern and eastern portions of the Austin metro area.
According to Toll Road News, there are 52 toll points including seven mainline toll plazas and 45 ramp toll plazas involved in the changeover, which was formally approved at the last monthly meeting of TxDOT’s governing Texas Transportation Commission.
TxDOT estimates the capital cost of going cashless — including decommissioning and blocking off the cash lanes and making changes to signage — is about $2.3 million, which will be paid off in approximately three months because operating costs are estimated to drop by $8.5 million annually by cutting cash payments.
TxDOT spokesman Mark Cross said being able to get rid of cash payments on the highways will make for quicker, smoother traffic flows and greater convenience for users.