If you’ve been cruising the InterCounty Connector without an E-ZPass, the joyride is about to come to an end. Starting at midnight tonight, E-ZPass-less drivers will see their tolls go up substantially.
For each one-way trip without the electronic transponder, drivers will receive a $3 administration fee. That is on top of the $1.15 to $1.45 toll for a normal one-way trip.
But the new charges may be coming at a bad time for the new toll road. The number of vehicles traveling the highway has sunk to just over a third of the level during the free test-drive period during late February and early March.
According to the Washington Examiner, the weekday average has plummeted from 30,000 vehicles during the test-drive period to about 9,400 vehicles a day during the first week of tolls. Through March 25, that number is up slightly to 10,900.
But according to the Examiner, that is well below the estimated 21,000 vehicles expected to travel on the first segment of the ICC, between I-370 in Shady Grove and Georgia Avenue in Olney. Once the entire ICC opens, officials predict about 55,000 vehicles will travel the 18-mile stretch every day.
“The drop in traffic volumes from the test-drive period to the start of toll collection was expected,” Maryland Transportation Authority Spokeswoman Teri Moss told the Examiner. “Current traffic volumes are consistent with our projections and forecasts for early traffic volumes.”
But Peter Samuel, an editor for Tollroadnews, tells the Examiner the sign of success is still down the road.
“The real test comes in a year’s time when it goes through to Interstate 95.”