October 17, 2014 — Two of the six planned new toll booths at the International Bridge are in place and will be open for toll collection from three new lanes beginning as early as 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20.
“The pavement, utility tunnel, and toll booths on the eastern portion of the toll plaza will be completed on schedule and we can begin toll collection from two booths to serve three lanes,” said project manager Karl Hansen.
Early in the week, the two new northbound toll lanes will open and process traffic as the last temporary northbound toll booth and lane are removed. By midweek, the third new lane will be opened to southbound traffic, allowing for removal of the last two temporary booths. Traffic approach lanes will be clearly marked with construction cones. Customers are cautioned to look for lights and signs identifying which lanes are open for toll collection.
Prox cards can be used at all new booths; however, external Prox card readers are not yet available. They are expected to be installed within the month, along with new toll gates. The temporary toll booths that have been used since late June will be removed.
“The project is on schedule with the goal to complete all of the toll plaza work before the end of the year so that all six of the new booths are available for customers,” Hansen said. “The new bridge administration building should also be roughed in by the new year so interior work can proceed through the winter months.”
Construction is being coordinated with another ongoing project to install new toll computer equipment and software. The new system will feature online Prox card customer accounts, as well as other convenience features.
“This is a very complex project that is progressing very smoothly,” said International Bridge Administration General Manager Phil Becker. “We truly appreciate our customers’ patience, and I believe they will agree the inconvenience was well worth it when they experience the functionality and convenience of the finished product.”
The $8.9 million project is funded from toll revenue reserves the IBA has set aside in short-term investments over the past 10 years. The IBA funds all projects from reserves and does not carry any debt. The entire project will be completed in October 2015. The contractor is DeVere Construction from Alpena, Michigan.
The operation and maintenance of the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge is totally self-funded, primarily through bridge tolls, and is not subsidized by any state, provincial or federal government entity.