Electronic tolling coming to Tauranga in 2015

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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Transport Agency – Electronic tolling coming to Tauranga in 2015

One of the nine-metre high electronic tolling gantries has been installed on the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL) ahead of the official opening of the motorway later this year.

The second toll gantry will be built on Tauranga’s Route K (Takitimu Drive) in April, in preparation for when the Transport Agency takes ownership of the road from Tauranga City Council in July 2015.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Waikato / Bay of Plenty Regional Director, Harry Wilson says both of the new toll points are ‘single gantry, multi-lane free flow systems’, the first of their kind in New Zealand.

“Motorists have been using the electronic toll system on the Northern Gateway Toll Road (NGTR), north of Auckland, since 2009, however technology has moved on since the dual-gantry on the NGTR was installed,” Mr Wilson says.

“The gantries in Tauranga are a single gantry which spans all of the lanes and has an exterior cladding.

“All of the technical elements are housed inside the gantry cladding and in the technical shelter on the roadside. This results in a sleeker and more sophisticated design and it also means there is less potential for driver distraction when any maintenance work is carried out.”

Mr Wilson says the main benefit of the free-flow systems being used in Auckland and Tauranga is that there is no need for toll booths, allowing drivers to travel straight through, reducing travel times and providing a more predictable journey.

“Each gantry has 16 cameras, which will capture an image of the vehicle’s front and rear registration plates using the latest optical character recognition technology.

The cameras will read the registration plates and determine the size of the vehicle and whether it is a motorcycle, car, truck, or bus so the correct toll can be assigned”.

“This system is heralded internationally because of its performance, latest generation technology and low initial and operational costs,” Mr Wilson says.

The TEL gantry was shipped into Tauranga in December and installed at the toll point, between the Kaituna River bridge and the future Rangiuru Business Park interchange, near the Paengaroa roundabout.

Mr Wilson says the gantry installation is a significant milestone for the TEL and visible evidence that the project is nearing its final stages.

“The TEL is one of seven Roads of National Significance (RoNS) based around New Zealand’s five largest population centres. The RoNS have been identified by Government as key projects for moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently.

“Tolling the TEL between the Domain Road interchange and the Paengaroa roundabout allowed the project to start a decade earlier than originally planned.”

Mr Wilson says light vehicles using the TEL would pay $2 and heavy vehicles $5. The Route K toll tariff will be $1.80 and $4.80 after July 2015.

He says the prices reflect the different benefits of the individual roads for motorists and the underlying costs of constructing the roads.

“Alongside the new-look toll points, the Transport Agency is also upgrading the back-end tolling system, offering customers a range of ways to pay their tolls.

“People can either set up a pre-pay account or pay as they go either online, through the 0800 number or over the counter at selected service stations”.

The new tolling system is expected to be operational in early July, ahead of the TEL being opened and Route K being electronically tolled.

View the 3D tolling animation and see how free flow tolling works.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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