International crossings celebrate switch to new toll systems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2022
Fast facts:

  • Two international bridge crossings on the Ontario-Michigan border officially dedicated updated tolling systems today.
  • Under a $9.3 million contract, the International Bridge (connecting Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) and the Blue Water Bridge (connecting Port Huron, Michigan, to Point Edward, Ontario) have modernized their toll systems.
  • Benefits of the new tolling system for both bridges include administrative cost savings, technological upgrades and improved customer service.

POINT EDWARD, Ontario – The agencies in charge of two international bridge crossings on the Ontario-Michigan border cut the ribbons on a new tolling system today.

Under a $9.3 million contract, the previous toll systems at the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge (connecting Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) and the Blue Water Bridge (connecting Port Huron, Michigan, to Point Edward, Ontario) have been modernized.
The contract is administered for the cross-border partnership by the International Bridge Administration (IBA) through an agreement between the IBA, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL). Representatives from all three agencies gathered in Point Edward this morning to celebrate the successful launch of the system.

”We’re here today to celebrate this great collaborative effort in building a software solution for our future tolling needs,” said Natalie Kinloch, chief executive officer of FBCL. ”The transition has gone smoothly and, going forward, this new system will help us realize many efficiencies by sharing a common platform between our partner bridges. This translates to great value for the citizens of Canada and the state of Michigan while providing a better experience for bridge users.”

By working together, the bridges have saved an estimated 36 percent on upfront costs. Over the course of the next decade, projected savings could be on the order of $6.5 million to $7 million.

The contract costs of the new system are being shared equally by the IBA, MDOT and FBCL, a Canadian Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Canada. Through its board, the International Bridge is managed as a joint venture of FBCL and MDOT. The U.S. portion of the Blue Water Bridge is a State of Michigan entity.

”We expect to gain a lot from this new, technologically up-to-date system: greater flexibility in toll payment solutions, easier management of devices in the system, and increased accuracy and reliability,” said MDOT Chief Administrative Officer Laura Mester. ”For our customers, we foresee a whole host of benefits.”

The toll system is now live on both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the Blue Water Bridge and the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge. Prime contractor IBI Group and their team of professionals, working in close cooperation with the bi-national team, implemented the system and will provide operations and maintenance support for up to 10 years for toll software services.

While a boon for the bridge agencies, the biggest benefits of the new system will be for customers.

Over time, all three operators plan to discontinue the current card-based systems and transition to more convenient radio frequency identification (RFID) windshield tags that are automatically read by the toll system when customers pull into a lane. RFID tags purchased from any of the three agencies will work at any of the crossings, although customers will have to maintain accounts with each agency.

Website and account access will be standardized for all three bridge agencies for improved customer experience. New web portals will allow customers to manage accounts more effectively. This will include the ability to review transactions, make one-time payments or set up automatic payments, request new or replacement tags, cancel tags, generate statements, and more.

Mobile phone apps for managing toll accounts will be available for Apple and Android devices. Mobile payment options, along with new credit payment options, are available at select locations.

For information on specific features of the new tolling system at each crossing, check with the appropriate bridge website:

Representatives from the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Blue Water Bridge, and The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL) celebrated the deployment of a new toll system at all three agencies with a ribbon cutting in Point Edward, Ontario, this morning. (FBCL photo)

Staff from the International Bridge Administration cut the ribbon on the new toll system at the International Bridge between Sault Ste. Marie Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. (MDOT photo)

Staff from the Blue Water Bridge cut the ribbon on the new tolling system on the U.S. side of the bridge connecting Port Huron, Michigan, with Point Edward, Ontario. (MDOT photo)

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Dan Weingarten
WeingartenD@Michigan.gov

Jocelyn Garza
GarzaJ10@Michigan.gov

Rémi Francœur
rfrancoeur@federalbridge.ca

Posted in Bridge Events, Bridge Owners, Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority | Leave a comment

International Crossings Celebrate Switch to New Toll Systems

Fast facts:
– Two international bridge crossings on the Ontario-Michigan border officially dedicated updated tolling systems today.
– Under a $9.3 million contract, the International Bridge (connecting Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) and the Blue Water Bridge (connecting Port Huron, Michigan, to Point Edward, Ontario) have modernized their toll systems.
– Benefits of the new tolling system for both bridges include administrative cost savings, technological upgrades and improved customer service.

POINT EDWARD, Ontario – The agencies in charge of two international bridge crossings on the Ontario-Michigan border cut the ribbons on a new tolling system today.

Under a $9.3 million contract, the previous toll systems at the Sault Ste. Marie Continue reading

Posted in Bridge Owners, FBCL Canadian Plaza, MDOT, Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority | Leave a comment

Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge changing to new toll system Aug. 10

July 29, 2022

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. ­and Ontario – The Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge Administration (IBA) is alerting customers that it plans to upgrade its tolling system on Aug. 10.

Over time, the bridge will discontinue the current cards and transition to 6C Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) windshield tags that are automatically read by the toll system when customers pull into a lane. More information on this transition will be forthcoming.

It’s important for our customers to check their accounts before this transition to make sure their contact information is correct,” said IBA chief financial officer Emily Jacques. “They also should make sure they have sufficient balance available in their account to cover their tolls while we move to the new system.

Customers will continue to use www.saultbridge.com to manage their toll accounts, but the website will feature a new look and new access instructions. A new web portal will allow customers to manage accounts more effectively. This will include the ability to review transactions, make one-time payments or set up automatic payments, request new or replacement tags, cancel tags, generate statements, and more.

Here are a few important details for bridge customers to remember:

  • All current account information and balances will automatically transfer over to the new system. Users will need to re-enter payment information in the new system if they currently have automatic payments set up. They can log in using previous account numbers; however, they will be prompted to create a new username and password.
  • Current cards will continue to work, although they will eventually be phased out. Customers will receive advance notice when this happens.
  • Before the new system goes online there will be a “freeze” period on accounts. No new cards or accounts will be created, and no changes can be made to existing accounts after 10 p.m. Aug. 5. No deposits to accounts can be made after 10 p.m. Aug. 8. The freeze will be lifted when the new system goes live. All valid cards can continue to be used on their accounts during this period.

Some helpful online guides will be available after Aug. 10 to explain functions of the new system and give instructions on how to perform routine tasks. Customers with additional questions can call 906-635-5255 or 705-942-4345 ext. 105 or 0, or email accounts@saultbridge.com.

For more information on the International Bridge, please visit www.saultbridge.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/saultbridge.

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Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge:
Bridging Our Past, Connecting Our Future

Frequently asked customer questions:

  1. Is this a brand new account and do I have to switch right away?
    1. ALL info and balances will transfer to new system.  Customers do NOT need to setup a new account.
    2. Cards will be gradually phased out over 2023.  Customers will have time to switch to tags.  More information to follow.
  2. Do I have to sign up for online access?
    1. Customers can continue to top off their accounts in the lanes using cash, check or credit card.
  3. Is tag distribution automatic?
    1. Customers will need to contact the bridge to get the new tags – when we announce they are ready to be issued.  They will not be automatically sent.
    2. We do prefer customers come in (again, when we announce tags are ready to be distributed), but customers will be able to request tags over the phone, or submit a tag request online (AFTER August 10, 2022).
    3. Customers will be able to exchange and receive one new tag for every active card they have on their account.  Additional tags are $2 each.
  4. Can tags be moved from vehicle to vehicle?
    1. No.  Tags are not portable.  They are unique and affixed to each vehicle.
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