Is there anything more annoying on our Hudson Valley roads than being stuck behind someone at a toll who thought they had E-ZPass, but just started a traffic jam instead? When I first moved back to the Hudson Valley in June, it was almost a daily occurrence going over the Newburgh-Beacon bridge. I would chuckle at the hapless drivers when they were in a different line, and curse at them when they were in front of me. Of course that was one of the reasons behind the state's decision to covert all Hudson Valley toll bridges to a cashless operating system, but much like waiting for a tollbooth worker to walk across lanes of cars to help a stuck vehicle, such a massive change takes time.

As luck would have it, the Newburgh-Beacon bridge was the first to undergo the transformation. And while I'm not a fan of anyone losing their jobs, the cashless update saved huge headaches and traffic back-ups. The Kingston-Rhinecliff, Rip Van Winkle, and Bear Mountain bridges all followed suit. The only one left was the Mid-Hudson Bridge, which connects Poughkeepsie and Highland, and just so happens to be my route to work.

NOT what I wanted to see at the Mid-Hudson Bridge this morning. Or so I thought... (Jonah)
NOT what I wanted to see at the Mid-Hudson Bridge this morning. Or so I thought... (Jonah)
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I had seen the "cashless tolling coming soon" signs since I started this job back in November, but when was it actually going to happen?  Well there's good news for all of us: the change is almost complete.

My frustration at seeing an extra-long line at the toll this morning (was someone stuck AGAIN?!) immediately turned to joy when I saw what was causing the backup: a crew of workers suspended in the air, installing the scanning system that will replace the soon-to-be-removed toll booths. The original announcement told the public to expect the project's completion by this spring, and I'm here to tell you, it looks like they're very much on track. So not only will we be avoiding some extra bridge traffic in the future, but a government project looks like it will be completed on time!

Jonah
Thank you, cashless tolling setup hero! (Jonah)
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The new system is meant to make things as easy as possible for drivers. It will scan your E-ZPass if you have one, or send you a bill in the mail based off of your car's license plate if you don't. You can get E-ZPass at E-ZPassNY.com.

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