Free Rides on Portions of the Massachusetts Turnpike to Begin

There will be three toll free zones along the turnpike

The Massachusetts Turnpike will switch-over to electronic tolls starting on Friday night, which means demolition of toll booths.

With the switch-over, overhead gantries will begin collecting tolls at 16 locations from Lee to Allston.

But along the highway, there are a few stretches where drivers will be able to hop on and hop off and get a “free ride.”

“Yeah, that’s good, that’s good,” said Susan Nuzzolilo of Worcester.

“That’s a great idea!” said occasional commuter Ann Kelly.

The toll free zones are in the Springfield area, between exit 4 in Westfield and exit 7 in Ludlow; in the Worcester area between exit 10 in Auburn and exit 11 in Millbury; and in the Newton area between exit 14 in Weston and exit 16 in Newtonville.

For Kristin Dagilis of Charlton, that could cut down on her commute to work where she normally drives a longer route to avoid the Pike and avoid paying tolls.

“It’s a lot more time consuming, it’s really pretty but obviously I want to get home to my family so if the Mass Pike would let me do that, that would be much better,” Dagilis said.

But some drivers question why MassDOT would do that for only a few sections of the Pike.

“If one person pays it, everybody should pay it, otherwise the burden goes onto everybody else to maintain the road,” Frank Falcone of North Falmouth said.

But MassDOT has explained that “it would not be cost effective to install gantries between all of the closely spaced interchanges around Springfield and Worcester, where both toll rates and traffic volumes are relatively low.”

For some drivers though, any toll along I-90 is too much.

“These tolls were supposed to be taken down once the roads were paid for, that was the promise,” said Kevin Slusser of Acton.

But for now, drivers who can take advantage of the free zones may start testing them out.

“As long as the Pike doesn’t get backed up, obviously that’s the way to go,” Dagilis said.

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