GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. — Work to speed up the trip over the Grand Island bridges is speeding ahead, and cashless tolls on Interstate 190 are coming next month.
The New York State Thruway Authority says by the end of March, drivers crossing the Niagara River onto Grand Island will no longer have to stop or slow down to pay the $1.00 toll.
Instead, cameras over the roadway gantries will take a picture of each car's license plate and send a bill to the registered address, or the E-ZPass account linked to the vehicle.
The goal is to lessen often-frustrating traffic congestion that occurs at the toll plazas, speeding up travel for motorists and reducing exhaust from idling cars while they wait. More than 20 million cars go through those tolls every year on the Niagara Thruway, a vital thoroughfare for traffic between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and residents of Grand Island.
Construction on the camera setup is underway. Once that's done, crews will eventually remove the existing toll plazas and change the traffic patterns.
"I think it's going to be an adjustment, to be frank, because it's a big change and people are going to have to learn a little differently to get adjusted to that change," said Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray. “But I think once we get everything worked out, all the kinks worked out, it will be smooth and easy.
The Thruway Authority is offering a $10 credit for those who sign up for E-ZPass by February 26.