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Author Topic: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)  (Read 4931 times)

Alex

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Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« on: August 14, 2012, 08:29:14 PM »

Stumbled across this project while researching Rhode Island roads. The old steel truss bridge of the RI 24 freeway is being replaced by a plain toll bridge (albeit with ornamental piers).

Sakonnet River Bridge Replacement Project

Quote
In April 2009, RIDOT broke ground on the new bridge project, which is set for completion in 2013. The bridge is expected to be open to traffic in phases in 2012.

The new bridge will be 2,265 feet long and approximately 96 feet wide. Motorists will find two 12-foot lanes in each direction with wide shoulders. The bridge includes a planned 13-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path on the north side of the bridge. Mariners will find a wider passage under the bridge’s center span and the new bridge will maintain the minimum vertical clearance over the river of 65 feet. The project also calls for a parking area and a boat ramp on the Tiverton side of the bridge.

Sakonnet bridge tolls on track to start in June

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The chairman of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority says tolls are on track to start on the Sakonnet River Bridge next June. David Darlington told the Newport Daily News that the amount of the toll is likely to be in line with the tolls on the Pell Bridge, which are currently $4 if paid with cash or 83 cents for state residents who pay with an E-ZPass transponder. The state is turning over the bridge to the authority, which already oversees the Pell and Mount Hope bridges. Darlington says work has already begun on studies to help determine the toll. He says the authority must also go through environmental studies, hold public hearings, and take other steps before the process is completed.

One of the several stories or articles published within the last week on residents protesting tolls:

Protests planned against bridge tolls

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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) - More protests against plans to put tolls on the new Sakonnet River bridge are expected at the next Portsmouth town council meeting.

Residents of Aquidneck Island gathered in the pouring rain Friday to voice their outrage over the plan.

They claim the tolls would be an unfair penalty to people who live in that area.

Opponents are circulating a petition, both in paper and online.

State officials argue the toll revenue is needed to fund maintenance of the bridge which connects Portsmouth and Tiverton.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 09:05:33 PM »

I would sure protest adding tolls on a bridge that never had them. (This came up in another thread.) Mount Hope is an unusual bridge to mention because it's still free. Wonder if that'll last?
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 12:26:15 AM »

I know they are studying re-instating tolls on the Mt. Hope Bridge (it has only been free since 1998), but there is question of whether or not it would be feasible.  That bridge carries much less out-of-state traffic then the Pell or Sakonnet bridges.  There is also some legislative issues about what the toll rates can be on that bridge, since it's toll schedule was specified in a state law back in the 1960s, (unlike the Pell bridge which has rates that are changeable and set by the RITBA).   
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 04:59:05 PM »

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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 02:53:26 PM »

UPDATE (5/22/13):

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is installing an electronic toll system on the new Sakonnet River Bridge.

Authority Chairman David Darlington tells the Newport Daily News the system will likely be in place by the weekend. Then it will take several weeks to wire and test it.

Darlington says it could be operational by late June or early July. The toll is set at 75 cents per trip for Rhode Islanders with an E-ZPass transponder. Non-residents with an E-ZPass will pay $3.75 per crossing. Those without transponders will have to pay $5.25.

Local opposition to tolls on the bridge continues, with members of the General Assembly from Aquidneck Island pushing to reverse moves that allowed the toll. The town of Portsmouth is suing to prevent a toll.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 04:16:17 PM »

Darlington says it could be operational by late June or early July. The toll is set at 75 cents per trip for Rhode Islanders with an E-ZPass transponder. Non-residents with an E-ZPass will pay $3.75 per crossing. Those without transponders will have to pay $5.25.
Those toll rates are per crossing???

So a Fall River resident visiting family in Aquidneck Island would have to pay $7.50 - $10.50 round-trip.  Can anyone say highway robbery?

Even Boston's tunnels (Sumner & Williams) only charge $3.50 total (inbound only).

I would sure protest adding tolls on a bridge that never had them. (This came up in another thread.) Mount Hope is an unusual bridge to mention because it's still free. Wonder if that'll last?
Apples & oranges comparision, Mt. Hope Bridge's highest passenger car toll was never higher than $0.30 each-way.  The token rate was still $0.10 each-way back in the late-80s.

If the toll for the new Sakonnet Bridge was no higher than $1-$1.50; I don't believe there would be as much outrage or protest.

IMHO, the RITBA is overplaying their hand with this upcoming exhorbitant toll rate.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 04:30:30 PM by PHLBOS »
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2013, 05:35:48 PM »

Darlington says it could be operational by late June or early July. The toll is set at 75 cents per trip for Rhode Islanders with an E-ZPass transponder. Non-residents with an E-ZPass will pay $3.75 per crossing. Those without transponders will have to pay $5.25.
Those toll rates are per crossing???

So a Fall River resident visiting family in Aquidneck Island would have to pay $7.50 - $10.50 round-trip.  Can anyone say highway robbery?

Even Boston's tunnels (Sumner & Williams) only charge $3.50 total (inbound only).

I would sure protest adding tolls on a bridge that never had them. (This came up in another thread.) Mount Hope is an unusual bridge to mention because it's still free. Wonder if that'll last?
Apples & oranges comparision, Mt. Hope Bridge's highest passenger car toll was never higher than $0.30 each-way.  The token rate was still $0.10 each-way back in the late-80s.

If the toll for the new Sakonnet Bridge was no higher than $1-$1.50; I don't believe there would be as much outrage or protest.

IMHO, the RITBA is overplaying their hand with this upcoming exhorbitant toll rate.

Well, the Newport/Pell Bridge toll is $4.00 each way ($0.83 for RI residents with a RI E-ZPass). 

Basically, they justify the tolls by allowing RI residents (the ones that vote for the people planning this) to get through with a much cheaper rate than everyone else.  So you're right, a Fall River resident visiting family in Aquidneck Island would pay $7.50 - $10.50, while the Aquidneck Island family visiting Fall River would pay $1.50. 

They probably will have a frequent user discount that out-of-state residents can purchase, just like for the Pell Bridge.  On that bridge, it is $5.46 for 6 "trips" that expire in 30 days, and also an unlimited plan for $40 per 30 day period, vs. $4.00 each way with no discount plan.  So if that Fall River resident establishes a RI E-ZPass account, they can pay $5.46 for up to 3 round trips in a month. Even if they only take one round trip, $5.46 for the discount plan plus letting the other 4 trips expire is cheaper than $8.00 with no discount. 

But what they bank on is this:
1) people from out of state going to Aquidneck Island are wealthy and will pay.
2) People will drive through the E-ZPass lane and not notice how much they are paying until much later. 
3) the number of "in-the-know" people who will go out of their way to purchase a RI E-ZPass transponder and set up a discount plan is few and far between...most tourists come from outside of RI, and the vast majority of people establish only one E-ZPass account in their home state.  I have more than one, and it is a pain to juggle transponders, but I'm not tossing money down the drain for no good reason on routes I travel often.  I'm a very rare breed.  Most people would just suck it up and pay on a route they travel infrequently, including myself if I ever drove up there.  I just don't go up there often enough to justify having another E-ZPass account, so I'd just hold my breath and pay the high toll. 

I'm not sure if I'm really a fan of the resident discount plan.  Most other resident plans are restricted to an island that can only be reached via a certain toll bridge (Staten Island, Grand Island, Key Biscayne), portions of cities that are "orphaned" (Rockaways, East Boston, and to be fair they also let Broad Channel, South Boston and North End residents participate in the respective plans), or residents of areas that fall victim to a pricing scheme meant for long distance travelers (Roebling and Florence residents get a discount off of Exit 6 tolls on the NJ Turnpike, since the Exit 6 toll rates include the NJ half of the Delaware River Bridge, but those particular residents will almost never cross the bridge when exiting the Turnpike at Exit 6, they are exiting at US 130 to go home).  Other discounts to people from a certain state are not really that, it is not based on residency, rather it is based on what E-ZPass transponder you have.  So if you have a NY E-ZPass, you pay a cheaper toll per trip on the MTA Bridges and Tunnels than someone with an out of state E-ZPass, but they make it very clear that, "anyone regardless of residency may apply for a NY E-ZPass account".  In RI, granting discounts based on what state the person lives in seems very arbitrary, as I cannot see a reason why someone in Westerly needs a discount on the Sakonnet River Bridge, but someone who lives in Fall River does not need it, despite living far closer but just so happening to live in another state.  Unfortunately, the courts disagreed with me. 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 05:39:21 PM by mtantillo »
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 09:40:03 PM »

I feel bad for the business owners in Portsmouth and Middletown who are really going to suffer from this.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2013, 11:02:56 AM »

Well, the Newport/Pell Bridge toll is $4.00 each way ($0.83 for RI residents with a RI E-ZPass).
Again, apples and oranges comparision in that prior to that bridge (with accompanying tolls) being built (in the late 60s); there was no quick way to continuously drive between Newport & Jamestown.  I'm assuming there was a ferry of sorts back then (that also had a charge/usage fee). 

In the case of the Sakonnet Bridge; we're talking about going from a free expressway bridge (since the 1950s when it was originally built) to an exhorbitantly-priced toll bridge.  Again, if the non-resident cash/EZ Pass toll was closer to the resident toll; most would've accepted it.  And again, there's no nearby toll-free alternative route.  At least w/the exhorbitant $4 each-way (w/no EZ Pass discount whatsoever) I-95 toll in Delaware near the MD State Line; there's nearby alternate toll-free routes to bypass it.

They probably will have a frequent user discount that out-of-state residents can purchase, just like for the Pell Bridge.  On that bridge, it is $5.46 for 6 "trips" that expire in 30 days, and also an unlimited plan for $40 per 30 day period, vs. $4.00 each way with no discount plan.  So if that Fall River resident establishes a RI E-ZPass account, they can pay $5.46 for up to 3 round trips in a month. Even if they only take one round trip, $5.46 for the discount plan plus letting the other 4 trips expire is cheaper than $8.00 with no discount.
Why do I see this whole thing creating more problems than it solves?

But what they bank on is this:
1) people from out of state going to Aquidneck Island are wealthy and will pay.
Excuse me, although I went to nearby Roger Williams (the College now University) during the 1980s; I was (and am) not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.  Some of the friends I made that live in Portsmouth, Tiverton, Middletown and even Newport while living on/near campus don't necessarily fit the rich/wealthy stereotypes.  Many of them were ticked when the Mount Hope Bridge was closed for several months for a re-decking project back in the 1980s.  A 3-mile Portsmouth-Bristol one-way drive turned into a 24-mile one-way drive.

2) People will drive through the E-ZPass lane and not notice how much they are paying until much later.
Sad, but true... The sticker shock they get when reading their statements will likely occur well after the fact.

3) the number of "in-the-know" people who will go out of their way to purchase a RI E-ZPass transponder and set up a discount plan is few and far between...most tourists come from outside of RI, and the vast majority of people establish only one E-ZPass account in their home state.
Again, this creates more problems than it solves IMHO.  I could see the agency cracking down on such usage down the road. 

Once upon a time, many MA residents would apply for a NY EZ-Pass as a means of bypassing the fee that the MTA (Massachusetts Turnpike Authority) would charge its FastLane users while still getting the discounted Mass Pike and Boston Harbor Tunnel tolls.  Needless to say the MTA put a halt to that practice fairly quickly.   From that point on; in order to get the toll discounts, one needed a FastLane (now MA-based EZ-Pass) account.
 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 11:16:26 AM by PHLBOS »
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2013, 08:17:34 PM »

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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2013, 09:12:53 PM »

Heh, I actually found something quite interesting.  http://www.ritba.org/4bridgetollrates.html

That site lists the toll rates. 

Quote
1. All 2 axle, 4 tire passenger cars with a RI E-ZPass pay the lowest rate:
     Sakonnet River Bridge $0.75 
    Newport/Pell Bridge $0.83
    Note: Anyone can purchase a Rhode Island transponder, regardless of where you live. 

I guess this means that discriminatory pricing for RI residents vs. non-RI residents is over?  Seems to me like they are saying anyone can get the dirt cheap RI E-ZPass rates simply by signing up for a RI E-ZPass, regardless of residency.  This is the exact language that NY E-ZPass used to quiet people who were howling over the restriction of MTA E-ZPass discounts to NY E-ZPasses only.  If this is true, this is a positive development for those who frequent Aquidneck Island, but live out of state. 

Quote
2. Customers with a RI E-ZPass, 2 axle, 4 tire passenger vehicles do not pay more than one (1) round trip per transponder per calendar day (midnight to midnight) per bridge
Note:  This is transponder specific, not account specific
 Note:  Each bridge is subject to the daily discount

Another semi-positive development.  If you have a RI E-ZPass, apparently that means the tolls are capped at $1.66 per day for Newport Bridge and $1.50 per day for Sakonnet River Bridge.  Not even really sure why anyone would purchase the unlimited plan, because you would only save if you did a round trip almost every single day. 

So, not that I was ever in favor of instituting tolls, but it seems like RITBA is allowing anyone, regardless of residency, to get some extreme discounts simply by signing up for a RI E-ZPass, which at least takes the big sting out of their plan. 
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2013, 08:19:16 AM »

So, not that I was ever in favor of instituting tolls, but it seems like RITBA is allowing anyone, regardless of residency, to get some extreme discounts simply by signing up for a RI E-ZPass, which at least takes the big sting out of their plan. 
...for now.  Things can change in a few years time.

Once upon a time when both the PTC, DRPA & NJ Consortium first established EZ-Pass, anyone who signed for the automatic account replenishment (which required a credit card number); all supplemental fees were waived.  A few years later, monthly or annual fees were instituted.  The DRPA & NJ Consortium insitiuted a $1/month (=$12/year) fee and the PTC established a $6/year fee (since reduce to $3/year).

Additionally, toll discounts were either reduced or eliminated.  The DRPA beefed up its trip eligibility requirements to obtain a discount commuter rate and the agency that runs the Delaware Turnpike (I-95) abolished all EZ Pass discounts across-the-board at the same time it raised its base toll rate to $4 several years ago.

That said, I would take some of those toll discount "promises" RITBA is making with a grain of salt.  After all, this new bridge originally wasn't supposed to be toll bridge in the first place (which is why the Town of Portsmouth is suing).
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2013, 02:09:53 PM »

Oh, I know all about E-ZPass revoking discounts.  The most eggregious examples are probably the NJ Turnpike (50% markup on off-peak tolls for out of state transponders by charging cash rate), and the worst of them all, MTA in NYC giving huge discounts to NY transponders but not others.  $10.66 round trip MTA toll with NY E-ZPass, $15 with cash or out-of state.  It is for that reason that I maintain an MTA transponder (free transponder, no monthly fee, no account balance with the Pay-per-trip plan linked to my bank account) in my console solely for the purpose of entering and exiting Long Island. 

But you're right, perhaps RITBA's plans are for this to be an "introductory" offer only. 
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2013, 04:03:46 PM »

Well, the Newport/Pell Bridge toll is $4.00 each way ($0.83 for RI residents with a RI E-ZPass).
Again, apples and oranges comparision in that prior to that bridge (with accompanying tolls) being built (in the late 60s); there was no quick way to continuously drive between Newport & Jamestown.  I'm assuming there was a ferry of sorts back then (that also had a charge/usage fee). 
There definitely was a ferry, shown on old maps and you can still follow the old island routing between ferry docks.

Now let's not forget if you really hate the toll, you can still go the long way to Mt. Hope.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2013, 04:31:40 PM »

Well, the Newport/Pell Bridge toll is $4.00 each way ($0.83 for RI residents with a RI E-ZPass).
Again, apples and oranges comparision in that prior to that bridge (with accompanying tolls) being built (in the late 60s); there was no quick way to continuously drive between Newport & Jamestown.  I'm assuming there was a ferry of sorts back then (that also had a charge/usage fee). 
There definitely was a ferry, shown on old maps and you can still follow the old island routing between ferry docks.

Now let's not forget if you really hate the toll, you can still go the long way to Mt. Hope.
See one of my earlier posts on that subject in this thread. 

1.  Such an alternate route would not be considered a nearby toll-free alternative.

2.  Many in the area absolutely hated it when the Mount Hope Bridge was completely shut for repairs (about 4 months) in 1986 because of the extra driving involved.  Architecture students at my college alma-matter were impacted very heavily by that bridge closing due to their design studios were in Portsmouth at the time while the rest of the campus is in Bristol.  The Architecture Building (w/new design studios) on the main Bristol campus was still under construction at the time and wouldn't open until the spring of 1987; well after the bridge work was done.

I can only imagine the intensified howling there would have been had the Mt. Hope Bridge repair shutdown took place after these exhorbitant tolls on the Sakonnet take effect.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2013, 04:35:07 PM »

Well, the Newport/Pell Bridge toll is $4.00 each way ($0.83 for RI residents with a RI E-ZPass).
Again, apples and oranges comparision in that prior to that bridge (with accompanying tolls) being built (in the late 60s); there was no quick way to continuously drive between Newport & Jamestown.  I'm assuming there was a ferry of sorts back then (that also had a charge/usage fee). 
There definitely was a ferry, shown on old maps and you can still follow the old island routing between ferry docks.

Now let's not forget if you really hate the toll, you can still go the long way to Mt. Hope.
See one of my earlier posts on that subject in this thread. 

1.  Such an alternate route would not be considered a nearby toll-free alternative.

2.  Many in the area absolutely hated it when the Mount Hope Bridge was completely shut for repairs (about 4 months) in 1986 because of the extra driving involved.  Architecture students at my college alma-matter were impacted very heavily by that bridge closing due to their design studios were in Portsmouth at the time while the rest of the campus is in Bristol.  The Architecture Building (w/new design studios) on the main Bristol campus was still under construction at the time and wouldn't open until the spring of 1987; well after the bridge work was done.

I can only imagine the intensified howling there would have been had the Mt. Hope Bridge repair shutdown took place after these exhorbitant tolls on the Sakonnet take effect.
I wasn't really looking to reopen the discussion, just saying that if you REALLY, REALLY hate tolls, this isn't the end of the world, although I would agree people aren't going to look at the long way as viable.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2013, 05:46:30 PM »

RI House votes to stop Sakonnet tolls until February
Lawmakers order study of other ways to fund bridge
http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/east_bay/ri-house-votes-to-stop-sakonnet-tolls-until-february
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2013, 09:51:22 AM »

RI House votes to stop Sakonnet tolls until February
Lawmakers order study of other ways to fund bridge
http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/east_bay/ri-house-votes-to-stop-sakonnet-tolls-until-february
Good news certainly, for now.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2013, 07:17:12 PM »

Just kidding on that toll delay.  Apparently now the price is going to be $0.10 in this rapidly changing tale of toll woe...

http://www.turnto10.com/story/22745010/ri-lawmakers-work-toward-adjournment#.UdNRE3uZtuk.facebook
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2013, 08:25:36 PM »

Just kidding on that toll delay.  Apparently now the price is going to be $0.10 in this rapidly changing tale of toll woe...

http://www.turnto10.com/story/22745010/ri-lawmakers-work-toward-adjournment#.UdNRE3uZtuk.facebook
I'd pay 10 cents to cross it. Thing is, how are people getting tolled? That's a waste of open-road tolling, and I bet the threshold will be similar to Florida ($5) for those without transponders.
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2013, 09:01:59 PM »

The 10 cent toll is just a foot in the door that's basically saying "get used to the idea of there being a toll, but in the meantime we'll set said toll at practically nothing and say we're working on figuring out an alternative, so don't complain yet". Then either an alternative will be figured out, and the legislators get to pat themselves on the back, or no alternative will be figured out and the toll will go up to what it was originally supposed to be the instant the restriction expires - but by then people will have moved on to worrying about other things and it will cause less of a stir.

Win-win for the politicians. :pan:
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 09:06:25 PM by Duke87 »
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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2014, 08:29:44 PM »

I crossed the Sakonnet River Bridge on December 26, 2013.  The $0.10 toll has yet to post to my NY E-ZPass account.  Are they even collecting tolls, or did they give up after realizing the cost of collecting a 10 cent toll is too high? 

I would argue that the whole "we're collecting a 10 cent toll so we can say to the Feds that we were collecting a toll as soon as the bridge was complete so we don't lose our right to impose a higher toll in the future" argument goes out the window unless RITBA actually collects the tolls from E-ZPass accounts (including out of state ones) and bills people without transponders. 

FYI - the $4.00 for the Pell/Newport Bridge posted to my NY E-ZPass account the very next day with no problem. 
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doogie1303

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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2014, 09:22:50 PM »

I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't collecting tolls right, they've had all sorts of problems. Heck, someone even tried to set the tolls on fire last August:
http://middletown.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/arsonist-sets-fire-on-sakonnet-river-bridge_fd88f291

My opinion on this whole bridge/toll situation, I say make MA-24 and RI-24 a continuation of I-93 as mentioned in this post:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=7519.0

That way it becomes part of the Interstate Highway system, get rid of the toll, and they can collect federal funds to pay for maintaining the bridge. :)
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mtantillo

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Re: Sakonnet River Bridge (RI 24)
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2014, 09:27:00 PM »

I may write a letter to their FHWA administrator letting them know that they are not really collecting tolls, just making believe they are. That goes against the spirit of the law that says they have to collect when the bridge is substantially complete, and by not doing so, in my opinion, they've already given up their right to ever collect real tolls on it.
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southshore720

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