Orange County

Orange County Slashes Toll Booths in Effort to Speed Traffic

The toll booths are no longer necessary since motorists are required to pay electronically, officials said.

Crews on Monday will begin removing 13 toll booths in Orange County to help improve traffic flow throughout the county's toll ways.

The 13 booths will be removed from 11 locations -- five on the 73, four on the 241, one on the 133 and one on the 261. The toll booths are no longer necessary since motorists are required to pay electronically, officials said. The removal of the booths will allow for the widening of the roads.

The work, which will continue through Oct. 1, will require closures of two ramps at a time during five weekends. Detours will be set up for motorists.

Most of the work is planned for 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Officials have been sending post cards to residents to alert them of the work.

The first toll booths to be removed are on the El Toro Road northbound and southbound ramps of the 73 Toll Road.

On Aug. 25-27, work will be done on the 73 at the Newport Coast Drive northbound on-ramp.

The rest of the work on the 73 will take place Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at La Paz Road southbound on-ramp and the Aliso Creek Road northbound off-ramp.

Toll booths on the 133 at the Irvine Boulevard southbound on-ramp are due to be removed Sept. 15-17.

Work on the 241 at Antonio Parkway's northbound and southbound ramps will be done Sept. 8-10. On Sept. 15-17, the Portola Parkway southbound on-ramp will have toll booths removed, and then on Sept. 22-24 the toll booths at Alton Parkway's southbound on-ramp will be taken out.

The 261 Toll Road's booths will be removed Sept. 22-24 at the Irvine Boulevard southbound on-ramp.

The toll agency began its online payment system in May 2014. On the Fourth of July weekend the agency rolled out a "soft opening" of a new payment system that allows motorists to just input their license plate number so the agency can calculate the tolls, said Lisa Telles of the Transportation Corridor Agencies.

Before the new system, motorists were required to tell the agency where they entered and exited the tollway, which was confusing for some people who sometimes became lost and didn't realize they were on a toll road, Telles said.

"So we've simplified that system dramatically," Telles said. "Now you can just put in your license plate and we'll calculate the toll. ... It's all working great."

Motorists who accidentally get on the toll system without a pre-paid account have five days to contact the agency and pay the toll, Telles said. First-time violators can pay when they receive a notice and for the first 30 days the penalties are waived, she said.

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