Sakonnet Bridge

The head of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it’s going to take some time to figure out how to collect tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge from drivers who don’t have an E-ZPass.

A toll gate will collect tolls electronically, with an extra fee tacked on for drivers who lack an E-ZPass and need a bill sent in the mail. But since the toll is now only a dime, Turnpike and Bridge Authority chairman David Darlington said they’ll have to find a cost-effective way to send those bills.

RI DOT

Although court challenges are still in the pipeline, a federal judge’s refusal to block tolling of the Sakonnet River Bridge makes it increasingly likely that tolls will be collected, starting early next month. The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is taking steps to reduce the cost of tolls.

For a limited time beginning June 25th, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will discount the cost of an E-ZPass transponder. The usual price of $20.95 will be cut to $10 and the Authority will apply a $10 credit to the E-ZPass account.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it’s not surprised that a federal judge refused to issue a restraining order to block tolling of the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Because tolling wasn’t part of the original construction plan approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the state had to go back and amend its environmental impact statement. The Town of Portsmouth filed a lawsuit, saying the amended impact statement is flawed. Chairman for the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, David Darlington, said he’s confident the paperwork was properly filed.

The Tiverton Town Council meets Tuesday night to vote on joining Portsmouth and Bristol in challenging the tolls that will be placed on the Sakonnet River Bridge this summer. The seven-member Tiverton Town Council is expected to join the lawsuit.

Just about everybody in Tiverton uses the Sakonnet River Bridge and they’re not one bit happy about the prospect of paying a toll for the privilege starting July 1st.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority approved new tolls that make crossing the Sakonnet and Newport Pell bridges cheaper for drivers who own a Rhode Island E-ZPass.

Having that E-ZPass means paying a $.75 toll on the Sakonnet, while drivers without an E-ZPass will pay $5.25. It also allows owners to make an unlimited number of trips across either the Sakonnet or Newport bridges in one day, and only be charged for one round trip.

Turnpike and Bridge Authority Chairman David Darlington said the goal is to get more Rhode Island E-ZPass transponders on the roads.

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