Second toll machine expected to speed payment to 25 seconds

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will install a second automatic toll payment machine this summer at the La. Highway 1 toll bridge in Leeville.

“This second machine will be the back up and will not be the main machine,” LA 1 Coalition Executive Director Henri Boulet. “In case the other breaks, the toll gantry will have this second machine.”

The in-lane payment machines will take coins, cash, credit cards, debit cards and GeauxPass or toll tag account holders may use their online accounts or visit the Golden Meadow Customer Service Center. During the work, the left lane of the bridge will remain a dedicated GeauxPass lane, allowing tag users to drive through the toll gantry uninterrupted.

“DOTD told me that the machines have an average transaction time of 25 seconds,” Boulet said. “They are like ATM machines. I am encouraged by DOTD’s investment to improve the toll process and keep up with the latest technology.”

When drivers pull up to the machine, they will select the type of vehicle they are driving and the toll price will be displayed on the video screen. Next, the drivers will select the method of payment, pay the toll, and finally select whether or not they would like a printed receipt.

Prior to the installation of the machines, motorists had to exit their vehicles to pay their toll at pre-pay and post-pay kiosks, located in local businesses and inside the Golden Meadow Customer Service Center. These kiosks will be removed following the installation of the ATPMs and there will no longer be a “post-pay” or grace period payment option.

In addition to speeding up the toll paying process the machines will also prevent a user error that was resulting in some motorists receiving a fine.

“When paying online, you need to enter your license plate number, and some people were not putting an extra space in their plate number,” Boulet said. “The cameras at the toll gantry were not matching the numbers that were entered on line with the numbers on the plate, and people were surprised when they received a fine. These machines will eliminate the problem.”

The ATPMs will also stop toll violators who were misclassifying their vehicle or underpaying any toll.

“Anytime someone fails to pay the toll or the proper toll, it results in a loss of revenue. DOTD is committed to the bond holders and will pursue violators to the fullest extent,” said DOTD public information officer Bambi Hall. “While we have experienced a loss of revenue, the new system and the ability to bill out-of-state violators will soon minimize these losses. With the implementation of the cash and charge lanes, along with the out of state agreements that we are currently negotiating, we expect to increase our ability to collect the proper toll by 5 to 8 percent.”

First time toll violators will be fined $25, and the fee is the same for multiple violations.

“Along with the implementation of the cash and charge lanes, staff is currently working on improvements to the processing of violators, including the procurement of a collection agency to pursue violators, including those violators from out of state,” Hall said. “LADOTD is committed to ensure that a thorough and fair violation process will be implemented that will ensure that all users of LA 1 will be held accountable for paying their tolls to use LA 1.”

“We are pleased to offer the new enhanced in-lane payment feature at our La. 1 toll facility, allowing quick pay on the expressway,” said DOTD Assistant Secretary Rhett Desselle. “This will make travel more convenient for motorists commuting to Port Fourchon and the many visitors that flock to Grand Isle for annual events and vacation.”

While work at the toll gantry continues, southbound loads wider 13 feet will be permitted through DOTD’s truck permits section to pass around the median barrier, on the northbound side with a state police escort.