CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The possible removing of the tolls from the West Virginia Turnpike when the current bonds are paid off in 2019 is beginning to impact parts of the operation.

The state Parkways Authority is considering¬†a holdover agreement with the company that currently oversees the restaurants at the Turnpike’s three travel plazas.

The deal with HMS Host expires at the end of 2014 but West Virginia Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr said the¬†authority probably wouldn’t get many bidders for a new contract that would possibly only be in effect until early 2019 when the tolls may come off.

“We’re looking at doing shorter holdover periods with HMS Host to maybe get us to 2019,” Barr said.

The Parkways Authority has been reviewing language for the new agreement as has HMS Host. Final approval could come next year.

Barr said the restaurant leases on toll roads in other states are going out for up to 30 years in some cases.

“So it would be very, very unusual to bid one for four years and five months,” he said.

Barr said the authority is also seeking information from the federal Highway Administration on whether the restaurants at the travel plazas would be allowed to remain open when and if the tolls come off the highway.


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  • Mac

    Speaking of paying tolls. As a "northerner" who travels the WV toll roads about two times a year, I've often wondered why the signage for the toll amount is so close to the toll booths. Not only is it close, but, you have to be nearly on top of them before you can read the toll amount due to the small font size. Of course, those of you who utilize "fast-pass" don't have this problem. I hope I'm not the only one who has thought about this...but a larger font size for the toll amount, plus the signage moved to maybe 1/2 mile prior to the toll plaza would give drivers adequate time to get the right amount of change while moving down the highway. Just opining.

  • Retired Charlie

    From reading the posts I think that people who pay them want them removed and the people who don't pay want to keep them. This isn't news.

  • Jay Wilson

    The reason tolls should be removed is because they are not implented fairly. A few decades ago tax revenues from coal operations (mainly from the southern counties) paid to have roads put in the northern parts of the state. To get roads put in the southern part of the state, tolls were required. There are 4 toll booths in WV and all of them are south of Charleston on I77 (3 actually on I77 and 1 on an I77 exit to access Rt 19 north of Beckley). If the toll collections are to remain, they need spread out. Possibly remove the Ghent toll booth and either the PAX or Sharon toll booth. Replace those toll booths with toll boths spread out in the northern part of the state. That would make it fair.

    • Aaron

      You cannot arbitrarily place tollbooths on a run based on the location in the state. The only place tolls can be put in place our on roads designated as a tollroad. Currently the only tollroad in the state of West Virginia is Interstate 77 from Charleston to Princeton a.k.a. the turnpike.

  • Rdl

    Why eliminate the tolls?being from out of state I do not have a problem paying the toll.if I didn't won't to pay a toll I could find a different route to drive. Keep the tolls for the upkeep,don't use taxpayers money that never use the turnpike. I support the tolls

  • Curly Joe

    Why would the tolls come off? It doesn't make sense. It is my understanding that about 70% of the toll revenue comes from out-of state drivers and common carriers who undoubtedly see the value in using a well-maintained highway that gives them a direct route. Local southern WV drivers who use the highway frequently can purcahse passes that give deep discounts off of normal tolls. Why would we take the tolls off and allow 70% of the traffic, that creates at least 70% of the wear and tear on the highway ride free, while we locals are stuck with the repair tab through higher taxes?

    • Southern WV

      I live in Raleigh County and drive it everyday. In the winter it is the only clear road. DOH does a horrible job (thanks Mattox) of clearing ice and snow. I know if I can get to the Turnpike then I can make it. KEEP the tolls. And do not be surprised if tolls are implemented on other roads to pay for construction.

    • Hailey

      Why don't we just charge out of state drivers to drive on all of our roads then? Wear and tear, right ?

      • Scott

        Exactly what part of the state do you live Curly Joe.I'm betting it's not close to the turnpike.I live in southern WV and avoid the turnpike all I can it's stupid to have to pay 6 dollars to drive 80 miles.

        • robert thomas

          I live in florida and pay three dollars to cross a bridge one way from niceville to destin which is about a two mile drive.i'll trade ya.

          oh i'm originally from morgantown and drive the turn pike when I come home to visit.I don't mind paying the toll.

          I usually drive up to Beckley and then take 19 north.

        • robert thomas

          I live in florida and pay three dollars to cross a bridge one way from niceville to destin which which is about a two mile drive.i'll trade ya.

        • Curly Joe

          Scott....I live in Beckley and use the turnpike at least 3 times a week on average. The discounted fare and transponder make it so easy to enjoy this great highway. I mean really now, would you drive route 3 to Whitesville, Racine, and over Lens Creek Mountain to Marmet to get to Charleston from Beckley....almost 2 hours when the good route takes 50 minutes and half the gas? The same can be said about any other alternate route from Beckley to Charleston or Princeton.

          • Mac

            Great answer Curly Joe! Makes a lot of "cents!"