CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike last Memorial Day weekend was down two percent from 2017 but Turnpike General Manager Greg Barr doesn’t expect that to be a trend to continue this year.
“We’ve been seeing about a two percent increase in transactions so far since January, January through April, so we’re anticipating at least two percent,” Barr said Friday.
The toll road from Charleston to Princeton usually sees traffic pick-up on Thursday before Memorial Day with an increase on Friday. A lot of the return traffic is concentrated from late morning to mid-afternoon on Monday.
This weekend will mark the first three-day holiday since the doubling of toll rates from $2 to $4. Barr said they’ve started to receive a few complaints from motorists. He said they try to remind them of the deeply discounted EZ Pass which now carries a $25 annual cost plus a one-time $13 fee for a transponder.
“We try to just remind them of that. We do make them aware that we do offer this discounted program,” Barr said.
The tolls were increased Jan. 15 after a delay in the original increase date of Dec. 31, 2018. The delay was in part because of the problems with applications for the discounted $24 three-year EZ Pass. The backlog of thousands of applications has since been taken care of by the state Parkways Authority.
The new money is funding a bond issue that will pay for new roads and bridges in 10 southern West Virginia counties.