Last Modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 7:41 PM
Recently I traveled on Interstate 35 in southern Kansas. I was surprised to see toll booths on the interstate. My question is how can a state charge tolls on a federal highway?
Maybe Louisiana should set up a toll booth at the Calcasieu River bridge to pay for construction of a new bridge.
Steve Jiles, regional administrator for the state Department of Transportation and Development, said a toll facility on the approaches to the Interstate 10 bridge might be feasible. But he said it would likely not be profitable and could have costly side effects.
“The circumstance of having a toll facility on I-10 with the free bypass route of I-210 available may prompt a high percentage of traffic on I-10 to divert to I-210 at a minimal loss in travel time to avoid tolls and delay at toll collection booths,” Jiles wrote in an email.
“The possible large traffic imbalance between I-10 and I-210 resulting from toll collections on I-10 may create safety and capacity issues on I-210. A toll facility on I-10 may also inhibit commerce in Westlake, downtown Lake Charles, and north Lake Charles.”
Toll roads in the United States date from the early 1790s, when Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike was chartered.
“It was the first road in America covered with a layer of crushed stone,” reads a Federal Highway Administration page on toll roads’ history.
“The boom in turnpike construction began, resulting in the incorporation of more than 50 turnpike companies in Connecticut, 67 in New York, and others in Massachusetts and around the country.”
The Kansas Turnpike, the toll system the reader asked about, opened in 1956 — the same year President Dwight Eisenhower signed the interstate-highway-system-enabling Federal-Aid Highway Act.
The law contained a provision that allowed toll roads to be incorporated into the interstate system, and in August 1957 the federal government folded just over 2,100 miles of toll road — 1,837 miles of them already in operation — into its highway system.
The incorporated roads and sections, according to the FHWA’s website:
Connecticut Turnpike, 98 miles — from the New York state line to Old Lyme, except the New Haven section.
Florida’s Sunshine State Parkway, 41 miles — from Fort Pierce to Palm Beach.
North Illinois Turnpike, 47 miles — from south of Barrington to near Beloit.
Illinois’ Tri-State Turnpike, 73 miles — from the Calumet Expressway west and north around Chicago to the Wisconsin line.
Indiana Toll Road, 157 miles — the whole route, from one side of the state to the other.
Kansas Turnpike, 184 miles —from Kansas City to Topeka and from Emporia to the Oklahoma line.
Kentucky Turnpike, 40 miles — from Louisville to Elizabethtown.
Massachusetts Turnpike, 123 miles — from Boston to East Lee.
New Hampshire Turnpike, 15 miles — from Seabrook to Portsmouth.
New Jersey Turnpike, eight miles — from Newark Airport to the Holland Tunnel.
New York Thruway, 506 miles — the entire route, from Yonkers to the Pennsylvania line.
New York’s Niagara Thruway, eight miles — a section in Buffalo.
New York’s New England Thruway, four miles — a section in New Rochelle.
Ohio Turnpike, 173 miles — from the Indiana line to southwest of Cleveland and from west of Youngstown to the Pennsylvania line.
Oklahoma’s Turner Turnpike, 177 miles — the entire route, from Oklahoma City to the Missouri line.
Pennsylvania Turnpike, 359 miles — from the Ohio line to Bristol.
Virginia’s Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike, 35 miles — the entire route, from Richmond to Petersburg.
The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email email@example.com
Posted By: ET On: 7/30/2012
Title: The Shunpike
When growing up in Northern New York State, on Route 148, just North of U.S. Route 20, there was a road named Shunpike. It still exists today. It seems that after the Toll Road that became U.S. 20 was built in the late 1700's, people avoided the Toll Collectors House on Route 20 in the Town of Sloansville by just running their wagons thru an amenable local farmers fields parallel to the Toll Road. Over the ensueing 200 years , the Shunpike was graded and asphalted by the local community and turned into a road. The small towns with Toll Collector's that the "Shunpikes" bypassed slowly became irrelavant and died.