WILLIAMS TOWNSHIP, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today warned cash-paying motorists to anticipate delays – especially during peak travel periods – at the toll plaza for the agency’s I-78 Toll Bridge.
One of the toll-collection lanes at the plaza was knocked out of service Tuesday afternoon by a tractor trailer driver who has subsequently been charged with reckless driving. The accident remains under investigation by Pennsylvania State Police from that agency’s Belfast barracks.
The driver’s truck veered into the concrete protection barrier separating two of the plaza’s toll lanes around 2:20 p.m. yesterday. The collision severed the concrete pediment that is designed to protect toll collectors who handle cash transactions in the immediately adjoining toll booth. The truck sustained damage and had to be towed from the scene. The driver was transported to a nearby hospital shortly after the accident; the Commission does not have any further information regarding his injuries or medical status.
The Commission will not be able to bring the compromised toll lane back online until a new concrete safety barrier can be designed and installed to ensure maximum protection of its toll collectors and electronic toll equipment in the affected lane. This will reduce the toll plaza’s operational capacity from four lanes to three lanes for handling cash transactions.
As a result of this situation, westbound I-78 motorists who pay cash tolls at the plaza may encounter traffic congestion and moderate delays during peak traffic periods until the compromised toll lane can be put back into service. The busiest daily commuter traffic period is weekday evenings, roughly 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Commission has examined the barrier toll plaza’s overall structural integrity and determined it to be satisfactory to allow the three remaining lanes to stay in service. The Commission is constructing an action plan to repair the damaged toll lane. It’s too early in the process to determine when the toll lane may be brought back into service.
The I-78 toll facility (four-lane conventional toll booth plaza with nearby separated two-lane Express E-ZPass structure) is approximately one mile west of the Commission’s I-78 Toll Bridge. The facility handles only westbound traffic. It processed slightly more than 32,000 toll transactions a day last year. Of those transactions, nearly 70 percent were handled through E-ZPass – most of which occurred in the segregated Express-E-ZPass facility next to the conventional barrier toll plaza. Express-E-ZPass allows E-ZPass-equipped motorists to pay their tolls while driving at highway speeds.