The days of using cash to pay tolls on one metro turnpike is coming to an end.
Effective July 25, toll booths on the John Kilpatrick Turnpike will be shut down as the stretch of roadway will be converted to ‘cashless tolling.’
“This conversion to cashless tolling is going to be a long-term initiative,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation, Tim Gatz during a press conference Monday afternoon.
In the last 6 years, Gatz said toll plazas have been the site of more than 500 crashes including one near Newcastle in June 2020 involving an ambulance on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.
Plazas, Gatz said, have proven dangerous.
“You have three opportunities to have an accident,” said Gatz. “One when you exit the main line into the toll plaza, two when you stop to pay the toll and three when you reenter the main line.”
Nothing will change for drivers who use the Pike Pass.
Sunday night drivers who normally pay cash will drive right past the toll booth. A new system called ‘PlatePay’ will read your license plate as you drive by and send a bill in the mail to the registered owner.
Drivers are told to expect ‘PlatePay’ rates to be higher than normal.
“That handling charge is driving that cost increase and depending on location, it can be as much as two times,” said Gatz.
The H.E. Bailey and Creek Turnpikes are scheduled to be converted in 2022, with the state going completely cashless by 2025.
“If we don’t make a move towards true open road tolling, the folks that have really went to the trouble to use the Pike Pass system and really embrace that true open road tolling format, are not enjoying the safest trip that they can,” said Gatz.
If you do receive a bill in the mail from the new cashless tolling system, it can be paid online or via mail.