Assessment of first 2 RhodeWorks truck toll locations released

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While exact numbers have yet to be determined, Rhode Islanders are getting closer than ever before to knowing exactly what a truck driver will pay to go through one of the toll gantries to be installed under the $4.7 billion RhodeWorks program.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) released an environmental assessment Monday for its first two toll locations. Gantries would be installed to monitor radio transponders and use license plate recognition software for charging tolls at bridges on Interstate 95 in southwest Rhode Island.

The first location would be the Wood River Valley Bridge, which needs repair and rehabilitation; the second would cover the Tefft Hill Trail Bridges, which are currently being replaced in both directions, and Baker Pines Bridge, which needs outside, or super-structure, replacement and interior, or sub-structure, rehabilitation.

Engineers for RIDOT noted in the assessment that exact toll prices have yet to be approved. Their estimate of a “conservative range” to start working with numbers was $3.50 to $4.50 per toll location.

There would be limits on how much a truck could be tolled per day (as long as an E-Z Pass or other transponder is used):

  • Once per toll facility per day, in each direction
  • No more than $20 a day in one direction, border-to-border on I-95 between Connecticut and Massachusetts or vice versa
  • No more than $40 a day in total

The document reiterates the RhodeWorks mission that the state has a backlog of infrastructure needs and structurally deficient bridges and not enough state and federal revenue is available to make the needed repairs.

The assessment also outlines how engineers expect there would be an impact on non-highway roads, including roads like Rhode Island Route 3.

RIDOT will be holding a workshop and public hearing on the environmental assessment on Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. at Chariho Middle School in Richmond.