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Bridge tolls to begin Dec. 30

Bridge tolls to begin Dec. 30 Bridge tolls to begin Dec. 30

The new East End Crossing bridge will open Sunday to both drivers and pedestrians. Along with two north and southbound traffic lanes, the bridge also will include paths for cyclists, joggers and walkers.
This completes the Ohio River bridges project, and tolling on both the East End Crossing and Interstate 65 bridges ‘ the Kennedy for southbound traffic and the new Lincoln for northbound vehicles ‘ will begin Tuesday, Dec. 30, after much testing of the system.
Darrell Voelker, director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corp., believes the bridges project is long overdue.
‘We should have built the East End bridge 30 years ago,’ he said.
He campaigned for the deal long before it came to fruition.
‘I was part of a Louisville regional group that supported the new bridges,’ he said, ‘and I testified at many public hearings about the need for the bridges.’
Toll accounts with RiverLink, the company in charge of the new bridge tolling in Louisville, can be set up online, over the phone or in person. According to kyinbridges.com, there are six sites in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area to purchase a prepaid transponder. The two permanent RiverLink customer service sites will be the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles office in Jeffersonville, along East 10th Street, and the Nia Center, located along West Broadway Street in downtown Louisville.
RiverLink officials made the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) about the start date for the tolls.
There will be three options available for the tolls: a prepaid local transponder, registered license plate and unregistered license plate. Local and E-ZPass transponders are expected to be delivered late next week.
According to riverlink.com, the local transponder is the option with the lowest tolling rate and most convenient of the three. Local transponders can be prepaid or set up as a personal account and will cost $2 for two-axle vehicles and $5 for three- and four-axle vehicles.
Prepaid transponders can be opened with a minimum of $20, and drivers will receive a notification via text, email or regular mail whenever an account falls below $10. Drivers also can set up a personal account with their credit card, debit card or checking account so their accounts are always in good standing.
The registered and unregistered license plates will have a slightly higher toll due to more administrative costs.
According to RiverLink, drivers using registered license plates will need to establish a prepaid account and register their license plate with RiverLink. The tolls will be $3 for two-axle vehicles and $6 for three- and four-axle vehicles.
Unregistered license plates will have the highest toll rates, costing drivers $4 for two-axle vehicles and $7 for three- and four-axle vehicles.
A frequent-user discount is offered to those who use the RiverLink transponders. According to riverlink.com, drivers who cross any of the toll bridges at least 40 times in one calendar month (20 round trips) will receive a 50-percent discount of $1 on their first 40 crossings plus any additional crossings in that same month. The discount will automatically take effect after the 40 crossings, and there is no registration required.
For those who travel in other areas where there are tolls, RiverLink also offers an E-ZPass transponder that allows drivers to access the entire 16-state RiverLink toll system without having to stop at toll booths. The E-ZPass transponder costs $15 and is linked to one’s personal account. States under the E-ZPass system include Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and others in the east and northeast regions.
At least one business that serves Harrison County has made some adjustments because of the tolls. Rumpke Waste and Recycling is switching its routes. Instead of trucks from the Louisville area coming to Southern Indiana, they will now come from Medora, thus avoiding paying any tolls.
Now that the bridges project is coming to an end, motorists have more options for crossing the Ohio River. There are still options that don’t require tolls: the Sherman Minton at New Albany, the George Rogers Clark (Second Street) bridge at Jeffersonville and, here in Harrison County, the Matthew E. Welsh bridge at Mauckport. Of course, there is no charge to walk across the river via the Big Four bridge in Jeffersonville.
For Harrison County residents who work in the east end of Louisville, Voelker believes the new East End Crossing bridge will be the best option.
‘They will likely find that paying tolls is (expensive) at first,’ he said, ‘but after (maybe a year), the convenience, safer travel and time saving will make enough of a difference that they will appreciate the bridge more.’
For readers’ comments about the tolling, see the newspaper’s Facebook page.
For more information about RiverLink tolling and Frequently Asked Questions, go online to https://riverlink.com/tolling-info/tolling-rates or https://riverlink.com/tolling-info/faq.

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