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Informational meetings on Hatem Bridge toll going cashless set Havre de Grace, Perryville

Informational open houses regarding the toll lanes on the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge going cashless are scheduled in Havre de Grace and Perryville in the coming weeks.

The first open house is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, at the Havre de Grace Activity Center, located at 351 Lewis Lane, from 6 to 8 p.m., then May 29 at Perryville High School, 1696 Perryville Road, also from 6 to 8 p.m.

Staff from the Maryland Department of Transportation will be on site to answer questions and provide information about E-Z Pass plans. There will not be a formal presentation; the same information will be provided at both meetings, according to MDOT.

Beginning in October, tolls on the Hatem bridge on U.S. Route 40, as well as the Francis Scott Key bridge on I-695, will become cashless, Maryland transportation officials announced last month.

The 60,000 drivers who use the bridges each day will pay either by E-ZPass or by video tolls, which take a picture of the vehicle’s license plate and send a bill by mail to the driver’s address.

The Maryland Transportation Authority, which manages the state’s toll facilities, will spend $26 million to demolish the existing toll plazas, resurface the roadways approaching the bridges and install video tolls.

Currently 93% of drivers who cross the Hatem Bridge and 80% of those on the Key Bridge use E-ZPass.

Officials touted the benefits of cashless tolling including decreased congestion, reduced car emissions, improved driver safety and rate savings for customers.

“Each year, drivers at the Hatem and Key bridges will save $1 million in fuel and 44,000 hours just by not stopping in toll lanes,” Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said at a news conference in April. “This means no more stopping and searching for money.”

The 1.4-mile, four-lane Hatem Bridge spans the Susquehanna River, carrying U.S. 40 between Havre de Grace and Perryville. Tolls are collected only in the eastbound direction.

Maryland E-ZPass transponders can be obtained for free from the MDTA and have no monthly fee. Drivers create an account and load money onto the devices, which are used to pay tolls. Those who don’t have the transponders will still be billed 150% of the cash toll fee and have 30 days to pay, officials said.

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