New Hampshire DOT's Bureau of Turnpikes is working "feverishly" to introduce open road tolling through the middle of their main Hampton toll plaza on I-95 by May 30th 2010. Administrator Harvey Goodwin tells us the rush of New Yorkers and Bostonians heading north starts in earnest in June, so to avoid another summer of toll plaza backups they've set a tough target date and a fast schedule.
Controversy continues in New England over whether government toll operations should be conducted within a state DOT or through a public toll authority. New Hampshire has represented the first model with toll operations part of the New Hampshire DOT while, at time of writing, Maine and Massachusetts have their toll authorities.
Climaxing a long campaign and protests, New Hampshire's Executive Council has voted 4 to 1 to reject requests from the city of Merrimack to end tolls on ramps there. The lone vote in favor of ending Merrimack tolls came from Councillor Debora Pignatelli who represents the area and has been one of the most vocal advocates of detolling Merrimack.
Hampshire's Executive Council voted yesterday 4 to 1 to raise state
toll rates by an overall 29%. Toll revenues are expected to rise
from the present $82m/yr to $106m on a full year basis. It's the first
toll increase since 1989 during which time the buying power of the
dollar has eroded 38.6%. (http://www.measuringworth.com/ppowerus/)
Minor disruptions were produced yesterday in a toll protest in which drivers were asked by local politicians to pay in pennies (one cent pieces) in Merrimack New Hampshire. In the morning rush hour the protest flopped.
Toll collectors and coin machines appeared to handle the penny payments just fine, and traffic flowed through the toll plazas as usual.
Traffic on the Everett Turnpike just south of Manchester is being rerouted to allow construction of an unusual 3-phase top-down bridge on the mainline to serve a short spur expressway to Manchester Airport. The underpass of the mainline of 2x2 lanes is part of a new trumpet interchange that will serve southbound Everett Turnpike traffic going to and from the airport. Support shafts are drilled, given their cages of rebar and poured with concrete and given caps.