As I-Zoom electronic tolling began Monday, Indiana Toll Road customers at the West Point toll plaza still faced long waits, despite officials’ claims that the system would help clear up the gridlock, the Times reported.
Traffic was backed up from West Point to the toll plaza at mile marker 5 in Hammond, Ind. at about noon, although it was not clear if the delays were caused by backups at the toll booths at West Point or the closure of a lane leading to the travel plaza, the newspaper reported.
Officials reported few problems in the morning, the Times reported, with about 85% of electronic toll lanes operating properly from the get-go, according to Indiana Toll Road spokesman Matt Pierce.
Pierce said antennae receiving transponder signals on the remainder of the lanes were to be recalibrated throughout the day to get 100% of electronic lanes operating, the Times reported. That may have caused some delays for motorists, but collectors staffed all Toll Road booths in order to aid customers, Pierce said, according to the paper.
I-PASS and E-ZPass transponders from 10 other states also now can be used on the Indiana Toll Road.
The installation of electronic tolling on the entire 157-mile length of the road was a requirement of the state when it leased the road to a private operator for $3.8 billion last year, the paper reported, and the start of electronic tolling on the road's 23 miles in northwest Indiana marks the first phase of that project.
"It's the first time in the 50-year history of the Toll Road that anyone is collecting electronic tolls," Pierce said Monday, according to the paper.
Electronic tolling on the Indiana Toll Road got off to a rough start when Illinois officials were outraged to learn that a 40% discount that will be extended to people with Indiana's I-Zoom transponders later this year initially would not be extended to people with I-PASS.
A peaceful resolution emerged after months of negotiations, with a pledge two weeks ago by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to pay whatever it takes so ITR Concession Co., the Toll Road's private operator, can offer the discount to all I-PASS and E-ZPass users, the paper reported.