New Customer Service Center in Portsmouth will help residents gear up for tolls
Now that the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that new tolls are legal, the Elizabeth River Tunnels (ERT) project team is gearing up to help motorists prepare for the electronic tolls which take effect on Feb. 1, 2014.
ERT on Wednesday announced the opening of a Customer Service Center in Portsmouth. Customers can register or service their ERT accounts and acquire E-Z Pass transponders. The center, located at 700 Port Centre Parkway, will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Gantries over the roadway will collect the toll electronically — with no cash option and no stopping to pay at tollbooths. Fees will be higher for motorists who decline to sign up for an E-ZPass account. As an incentive, people who obtain an E-ZPass by Jan. 3 will receive five free trips through the tunnels.
With an E-ZPass:
Passenger vehicles using either the Downtown or Midtown tunnels will pay $1.59 (off peak) and $1.84 (peak period). Heavy vehicles with three or more axles will pay $4.77 (off peak) and $7.36 (peak period)
Upon completion of the MLK Freeway Extension, E-ZPass toll rates on the MLK will be 50 cents when used in conjunction with a tunnel or $1.00 independently.
The peak period is Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Holidays and all other times are considered off peak.
Drivers who choose not to obtain an E-ZPass can become a registered Pay by Plate account holder or unregistered user. Registered prepaid Pay by Plate customers using the tunnels will pay a reduced processing fee of $1.59 per trip (in addition to the toll). Unregistered Pay by Plate customers will pay an additional $3.18 processing fee per trip (in addition to the toll). Unregistered Pay by Plate customers using the MLK Extension only will pay an additional $1.00 processing fee per trip.
Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo LLC, based in Portsmouth, is the private partner of the Virginia Department of Transportation for the design, construction, finance and operations of the Elizabeth River Tunnels Project. Located in Norfolk and Portsmouth, the project is comprised of a new two-lane tunnel under the Elizabeth River parallel to the existing Midtown Tunnel; fire, life and safety modifications and upgrades to the existing Midtown Tunnel and Downtown Tunnels; interchange modifications in Norfolk and Portsmouth; and extending the MLK in Portsmouth from London Boulevard to I-264.