Tollway stops accepting cash as way to prevent coronavirus spread

The Illinois tollway is temporarily suspending manual toll payments and shifting to entirely electronic payments to prevent spread of the coronavirus to drivers and employees.

Officials began transitioning the 294-mile system Friday; changes were expected to be completed Saturday night.

"At all points on our system, all customers should be advised to keep moving and not stop at toll plazas," Executive Director Jose Alvarez said.

Toll collectors will not be staffing booths and automatic toll payment machines at ramps and toll plazas will be deactivated.

Drivers with an I-PASS or E-ZPass won't notice any difference.

But customers who eschew I-PASS won't be able to pay tolls with cash. Those drivers are advised to remember the location and toll plaza name, then pay online. The tollway also offers a service to look up missed tolls by license plate.

"Customers who pay cash may find themselves in an unattended toll plaza lane or in an I-PASS or Pay Online lane," tollway officials advised.

"If this happens, continue driving forward. Do not back up at any time - it is unsafe."

Typically, drivers who miss a toll get seven days to pay before it becomes a violation.

Tollway leaders said they would extend that grace period "through the duration of the time of limited manual tolling operations, which is unknown at this time. "

Cash-paying drivers in the region can also purchase an I-PASS transponder at a local Jewel-Osco store and activate it online.

Tollway customer service centers at the Downers Grove headquarters and oases will be closed temporarily.

To find out more, go to Drivers can also call the agency at (800) 824-7277, although wait times could be long.

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