Initial toll rates have been set for a massive construction project connecting Indiana and Louisville that includes placing tolls along Interstate 65.
Artist rendering of the new Downtown Crossing and the Kennedy Bridge. Credit: Kentucky-Indiana Tolling Body
The Kentucky-Indiana Tolling Body on Wednesday approved rates previously recommended by Kentucky and Indiana transportation officials for the Ohio River Bridges Project. The two states will use all-electronic tolling, in which there are no toll plazas, no coin buckets and no slowing of traffic. Vehicles passing through tolling gantries will be monitored in two ways: onboard electronic transponders that send signals to monitors and video cameras that record license plates from overhead gantries.
The initial rates for vehicles paying tolls with transponders will be $1 for frequent commuter cars, $2 for cars, $5 for box and panel trucks and $10 for tractor-trailers. More detailed criteria for frequent commuters and truck classifications will be determined by the group in future meetings.
Higher rates will be charged for motorists who don’t use transponders and must be tracked by video camera identification of their license plates.
Drivers who register their license plates and establish pre-paid accounts will pay $3 for cars, $6 for medium trucks and $11 for heavy trucks. For those who don’t register and choose to be invoiced rather than establish pre-paid accounts, the rates will be $4 for cars, $7 for medium trucks and $12 for heavy trucks.
To keep pace with inflation, the group also approved an annual toll rate increase of 2.5% or the inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater. Once the initial rates had been in effect for at least one year, the increases would take effect July 1 each year thereafter.
Construction on the project began this summer and scheduled for completion in 2016.
The Ohio River Bridges project involves construction of two new bridges and their approaches, rehabilitation of the Interstate 65 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge and reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange, where I-65, I-64 and I-71 come together in downtown Louisville, known as Spaghetti Junction.
The project has two parts. There is the Downtown Crossing, a new bridge to carry northbound I-65 traffic between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind., renovation of the Kennedy Memorial Bridge to carry southbound I-65 traffic and reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange.
The second part is the East End Crossing, which is a new bridge, upriver from Louisville, to connect the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky with the Lee Hamilton Highway in Southern Indiana. It will complete a loop around the greater Louisville area.