Ohio Turnpike Completes Open-Road Tolling Project

$250 Million Project Includes E-ZPass, Gated Exit Options
Ohio Turnpike plaza
The Newton Falls Toll Plaza is one of four mainline toll plazas that will enable E-ZPass customers to travel nonstop in open-road tolling lanes across the Ohio Turnpike at highway speeds. (Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission)

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A new tolling system featuring open-road tolling lanes is now complete along the 241-mile stretch of the Ohio Turnpike, signaling the end of its largest construction project in its 69-year history.

“The modernization of the toll collection system has been a long, challenging and complex project. But the moment we have anticipated — following meticulous testing of the electronic tolling system over the past several months — has arrived,” Ferzan Ahmed, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, noted on the April 10 completion date.

Recalling that the new toll collection project took five years to complete from the date the commission approved the first contract, Ahmed said the final price tag amounted to nearly $250 million funded entirely by toll revenue and finished within the planned budget.

“I would also like to commend everyone who has been involved in the more than 20 projects to modernize the toll collection system since the beginning. The work performed by our staff, designers, consultants and contractors will leave a lasting legacy,” he said. “I would like to acknowledge our commission members for their guidance, leadership, patience and support every step of the way. Thank you for your oversight and for ensuring that the approved funds to build the new system were spent responsibly.”

The new toll collection system has a combination of open-road tolling lanes for E-ZPass customers and a gated exit system for customers who pay by cash and credit card. On the open-road tolling lanes, the gates have been removed from E-ZPass entrance and exit lanes. The project also included customer service center improvements.

Under the Ohio Turnpike’s new toll collection system, owners and operators of Class 8 commercial trucks no longer pay a $12-per-trip fee. Instead, they will pay the new toll for Class 8 trucks, which includes configurations such as a commercial truck pulling double or triple trailers.

Last year, E-ZPass combined usage by commercial trucks and passenger vehicles rose nearly 1% to 74.1% compared to 2022.

Ahmed projected that the new tolling system will continue to stimulate economic growth across the Ohio Turnpike, which is designated as interstates 80, 90 and 76. “The local, regional and national economic benefits of our top-performing facility will be immense for our commuters, travelers as well as the commercial freight industry,” he added.

Ohio Turnpike plaza

Swanton Toll Plaza at milepost 49 in Lucas County. (Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission)

Because the new tolling system is a hybrid flat-rate barrier and distance-based ticketed system, its open-road tolling means that drivers who use E-ZPass are able to travel at highway speeds without stopping through designated E-ZPass lanes across the entire 241-mile Ohio Turnpike system. Customers without the electronic toll passes still have the option to stop for a ticket and pay upon exiting.

The goal of the modernization project was to improve both driving and tolling experiences for drivers of commercial trucks and passenger vehicles.

The modernization project has been the turnpike’s largest construction since its completion in October 1955. The first completed section of the Ohio Turnpike (22 miles from the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the Ohio-Pennsylvania border to an interchange 9 miles west of Youngstown) opened for traffic Dec. 1, 1954.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to monitor the performance of the new system and close out various projects as they are completed,” Ahmed said.

As part of the new toll collection system, nine former toll plazas became non-tolled. These nine interchanges remain accessible but without on-site toll collection staff. Now the overhead signs on the gantry display “No Toll, Keep Moving” at these locations:

  • Toll Plaza 13 (Bryan-Montpelier) in Williams County
  • Toll Plaza 25 (Archbold-Fayette) in Fulton County
  • Toll Plaza 34 (Wauseon) in Fulton County
  • Toll Plaza 39 (Delta-Lyons) in Fulton County
  • Toll Plaza 215 (Lordstown-West) Trumbull County
  • Toll Plaza 216 (Lordstown-East) in Trumbull County
  • Toll Plaza 218 (Niles-Youngstown) in Mahoning County
  • Toll Plaza 232 (Youngstown) in Mahoning County
  • Toll Plaza 234 (Youngstown-Poland) in Mahoning County

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