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Cashless tolling now underway across Western New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the $355 million project was completed a month early.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side has been reporting about the cashless tolling system that is coming to New York State for a while and finally, we have an answer on when it's going to go live.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday cashless tolling will go live on the New York State Thruway's ticketed system during the overnight hours Friday, going into Saturday. 

Cuomo says it is more than a month ahead of schedule.

"The completion of this exciting new project will help Thruway travelers save time, as well as reduce traffic, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality all along the system," Cuomo said in a release. "Getting this cashless tolling system done and getting it done early shows that, even in these trying times, New York will never stop innovating and never stop building for its future." 

The state says cash will no longer be accepted as a form of payment at toll booths, and printed toll tickets will not be handed out. Cuomo urges all New Yorkers to get an E-ZPass.

E-ZPass has also released a new TollsNY mobile app to help motorists manage their E-ZPass accounts, find and pay Tolls by Mail invoices, and get important account alerts for tolls accrued at Thruway, MTA, and Port Authority tolling sites.

The entire project cost $355 million.

"It's also just bringing this whole system that’s been around since the 1950’s into the 21st century," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "It was a very high cost, it took many years to execute, three years, but we’re going to complete it one month earlier than we expected. ...

"The fact that we are doing this during a pandemic is still extraordinary, but it’s going to be a good way to give our motorists around Western New York a real break.”

How the cashless tolling system works

The last of the overhead steel gantries that will read your E-ZPass or license plates were installed in late summer.

The various appendages one can see on them have different functions.

The white squares that look like pizza boxes are what read an E-ZPass.

Double sets of cameras take photos of the front and back license plates of vehicles without them.

There are also built in functions to differentiate various classes of vehicles to assess the proper toll.

Devices in the road can tell how many axles are on a vehicle, and there are also height sensors to deduce, for example, if a passenger car is passing beneath, or a tractor trailer, and subsequently how much to charge.

The NYS Thruway Authority says you have 30 days to pay a toll, if no payment is received, a second bill will be sent out with a late fee. Hochul said to avoid a late fee sign up for an E-ZPass or make sure you pay your bill when you first receive it.

WATCH: Cashless tolls ready to roll on New York State Thruway

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