E-ZPass Accepted on RMA
Expressway System Wednesday, August 3
Out-of-state travelers using
toll roads like the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and New York
State Thruway, to name a few, will be able to add the Richmond Metropolitan
Authority’s expressway system to their list of roads accepting E-ZPass
starting Wednesday, August 3.
Accepting E-ZPass has no effect on current Smart Tags or their customers.
It simply allows E-ZPass customers from other states to use their
transponders on the RMA’s toll roads.
The E-ZPass system is a network of electronic toll-collection systems
from Virginia to the Northeast. Much like a network of ATM systems, it allows
members to use their “home” tags on other toll roads in other states – but
without having to pay the surcharge that is common in the ATM example.
For the past few months, Smart Tag users in Virginia have been able to use their
Smart Tags on E-ZPass roads in other states – but due to damage from
Tropical Storm Gaston, which delayed the RMA’s becoming compatible with E-ZPass,
E-ZPass users have been unable to use their tags on the Powhite Parkway,
Downtown Expressway and Boulevard Bridge.
The transition is seamless, since Smart Tag and E-ZPass patrons retain
their current accounts and the windshield-mounted transponders are identical for
Smart Tag and E-ZPass.
For more information about E-ZPass and where it is used, visit the E-ZPass
web site at www.ezpass.com.
Widened Approaches at Powhite Toll Plaza
Open to Traffic
Motorists on the Powhite
Parkway are finding more maneuvering room and better visibility as they approach
the mainline toll plaza near the James River.
The Richmond Metropolitan Authority has finished widening the approaches to the
southbound and northbound sides of the mainline toll plaza on the Powhite
Parkway, just south of the James River Bridge. The wider approaches provide
increased sightlines and more mixing room as vehicles approach the toll plaza
from both directions.
“These improvements are the first phase of an ongoing capital improvement
program dedicated to moving traffic more quickly and efficiently, laying the
foundation for better things to come,” said Mike Berry, RMA General Manager.
Widening the area near the toll plaza enables options such as high-speed Smart
Tag express lanes in the future, he said.
More than 1.1 million vehicles used the Powhite Parkway in the year after its
opening in 1973. Less than three years later, traffic volumes had increased to
4.3 million vehicles annually and the RMA widened the toll plaza. In
anticipation of VDOT’s opening of the Powhite Extension in 1988, the RMA widened
the Powhite Parkway and its James River Bridge. Traffic for fiscal year 1988 was
22.7 million vehicles. In 1992, when Powhite Parkway traffic reached 26.9
million vehicles, the RMA widened the road once again—this time from three to
four lanes northbound between Chippenham Parkway and the toll plaza and from two
to three lanes north of the river.
Traffic has increased more than 25 percent to 33.8 million vehicles since the
1992 widening. Smart Tag has enabled the RMA to handle this increased demand
with minimal additional delay, since more vehicles can be processed through
Smart Tag lanes than conventional toll-collection lanes. As more motorists
participate in the Smart Tag program, toll-plaza throughput increases –
resulting in fewer delays.
RMA offers a downtown service location
for Smart Tag customers
Did you have a
problem with your Smart Tag on the way to work this morning? Would you like to
make sure it will work when you drive home this afternoon?
If you work, live
or visit the downtown Richmond area, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority can now
help you find out whether your Smart Tag needs replacing – and have it replaced
for you if it does – all with same-day service in most cases.
It’s part of
Smart Tag Valet, a service the RMA has been offering since March 2003. By
offering a service point for Smart Tag in Richmond’s financial district, the RMA
provides commuters in the downtown area with a convenient alternative to Smart
Tag’s southside Service Center for ordering new tags or replacing defective
All you have to
do is bring your non-working Smart Tag transponder to the RMA’s Downtown
Expressway Parking Deck office between 7:30 and 9 a.m., Monday through Friday.
If your transponder is found to be defective, the RMA will return it to the
Service Center and have your new transponder waiting for you between 2 and 3
p.m. at the Deck's office or between 3 and 7 p.m. at the Deck’s cashier booth.
In most cases this is same-day service.
If you don’t have
a Smart Tag and would like to subscribe to the service, you can fill out an
application at the Deck’s office during those same morning hours and pick up
your new Smart Tag the same afternoon.
The Expressway Parking Deck sits atop the Downtown Expressway and occupies the
block bordered by Ninth, Byrd, Tenth and Canal streets. The Deck's office is
located on the Canal Street side. Smart Tag Valet customers can park for free
while they conduct their Smart Tag business in the office; just follow the signs
at the Deck's Canal Street entrance.
Smart Tag is the
smart way to pay tolls because Smart Tag users save 10 percent at the RMA’s
Powhite Parkway and Downtown Expressway mainline toll plazas.
For more information about Smart Tag Valet, call 804-523-3340.
Questions about our
convenient downtown Smart Tag replacement service for existing customers?
Questions about your
Smart Tag account or information on obtaining a Smart Tag?
Did you know ...
The RMA Toll Roads are:
(State Route 195) from Meadow Street
east to the I-95 Interchange
from Idlewood Avenue south to and
ending at Chippenham Parkway
(nicknamed the "Nickel Bridge")
The RMA does not own or manage Interstate 195 (the Beltline
Expressway), the Powhite Extension (from Chippenham Parkway to
Brandermill), the new Pocahontas Parkway (State Route 895) or Route 288. If you have
questions about those roads, please contact the Virginia Department of
Transportation at 804-524-6179.