WILLIAMS TOWNSHIP, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today warned cash-paying motorists to anticipate delays and allow extra time if they plan to travel westbound across the agency’s I-78 Toll Bridge this weekend.
The bridge’s manned toll plaza will be reduced to three lanes from four lanes because of a short-term project aimed at installing larger, more heavily anchored concrete protection blocks in front of the facilities individual toll booths. These so-called “bumper blocks” serve to protect the plaza’s structural supports, tolling equipment, and – most importantly – toll collection personnel from vehicular accidents and errant drivers.
E-ZPass customers – more than 65 percent of tolls are collected electronically at the I-78 location – should be largely unaffected since the Express E-ZPass lanes are segregated from the convention barrier toll plaza area where cash collections occur. Weekends, however, tend to generate larger percentages of cash-paying customers at I-78 and that could trigger backups and delays as one toll booth remains out of service for the installation of a new bumper block.
The need to replace the facility’s 25-year-old bumper blocks arose a month ago after a tractor trailer veered into the toll plaza severing one of the concrete protection barriers separating two of the toll collection lanes.
The crash forced a closure of one of the toll collection lanes for the remainder of the month while repairs could be made. This included the installation of a larger concrete bumper block with reinforced anchoring. It subsequently was determined that the added measure of protection should be added to the toll plaza’s other cash collection lanes.
So far, bumper blocks have been replaced in front of two of the plaza’s toll booths. The Commission expects to complete the replacement of the two remaining bumper blocks at the end of next week.
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.