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Waltham-based Raytheon will lead a team of Massachusetts-based companies that will convert Bay State tolling to an automatic system that will allow drivers to pass through toll stations without slowing down.
Raytheon, which has operations in Central Massachusetts, was awarded at $130-million contract to develop and install an All Electronic Tolling System (AETS) for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The system employs gantry-style structures that look like overhead signage, according to the company.
Bob Delorge, vice president of Raytheon's C41 Systems division, said in a statement that the company has developed and installed such systems along highways throughout the world.
"Hundreds of thousands of drivers will benefit from faster tollbooth transactions and fewer lane closures, including thousands of Massachusetts-based Raytheon employees," Delorge said.
MassDOT is pursuing the AETS as a means to reduce congestion, travel times and vehicle emissions created by existing toll plazas.
Raytheon said installation is expected to begin next April and wrap up in December 2015. Conversion will take place on the Massachusetts Turnpike, the Metropolitan Highway System in Boston, the Sumner/Callahan and Ted Williams tunnels, and the Tobin Bridge. All told, the conversion is expected to cost MassDOT $250 million.
Vehicles that are equipped with E-Z Pass transponders will work with the new AETS. The system will use image-based tolling technology on vehicles that are not equipped with E-Z Pass transponders, and those vehicle owners will receive invoices by mail, according to Raytheon.
E-Z Pass transponders charge tolls to drivers' bank accounts or credit cards, and some drivers oppose conversion to an all-electronic system because they don't have bank accounts, or are concerned about privacy issues and preserving toll workers' jobs.