The families of two people who died in a head-on crash on the Pell Bridge will file a wrongful death suit today against the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority and other state entities. The filing of the lawsuit comes on the second anniversary of the fatal crash.
On October 21, 2011 Kenny Prior and Kathy Meunier were driving across the Claiborne Pell Bridge when their vehicle was hit head-one by a car that crossed the median. Both died as a result of their injuries.
The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is ramping up efforts to collect the 10-cent toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Chairman David Darlington said there are 750,000 records of drivers who have crossed the bridge without being charged. Now the authority is ready to collect.
If you have an E-ZPass, it will be charged. If you don’t own an E-ZPass and have crossed the Sakonnet Bridge fewer than 25 times, you will not receive a bill. But after you make that 25th trip, the authority will send out a bill of at least $2.50.
A 10-cent toll will go into effect next Monday on the Sakonnet River Bridge. The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has not yet established a new policy for collecting the tolls.
The General Assembly set the new 10-cent toll in the closing days of the legislative session earlier this summer. Turnpike and Bridge Authority Chairman David Darlington said the authority needs to gather more information before making a new policy.
The state is slated to begin charging a new 10-cent toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge next Monday. Yet it’s not exactly clear how the state will collect that money.
The General Assembly added the 10-cent toll, basically as a placeholder, at the end of the legislative session. The legislature took that action because the absence of a toll on the new span could prevent the state from adding one at a later date. State Rep John Edwards of Tiverton says the toll remains unpopular in the East Bay.
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.
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 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.