BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Good news for beachgoers: it might take you less time to get to the beach this summer. The Maryland Transportation Authority announced its plan to have cashless tolls on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge by the summer.

The MDTA announced the start of aggressive construction beginning next week.

Motorists will see the demolition of some of the existing toll booths to create wider lanes at the Bay Bridge plaza in preparation for all electronic tolling starting on January 12.

Toll operations on the Annapolis side will no longer exist once the overhead tolling gantries are operational on Kent Island, but motorists traveling eastbound will be tolled as they get off the bridge, MDTA said.

The project comes at the same time as a two-year, multi-million dollar reconstruction project that is causing frustration among some drivers.

“I had a couple (of) trips this year where it was 14 miles and it took me two-and-a-half hours to get home,” said Kent Island resident Shawn Miller.

The switch to all-cashless tolling is an effort to keep drivers moving and reduce congestion, officials said.

“It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the time you need to spend in your vehicle and you get a reduction in the rate you have to pay,” said MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports.

In October, Gov. Larry Hogan called for electronic tolling on the bridge as soon as possible. With just months to go until summer, some drivers and area residents said they hope the plan works.

“My hope is that it will improve the situation,” said Kent Island resident Lanae McIlree.

Construction to remove the old toll booths is expected to be done by the end of June. Drivers without an EZPass will be billed later.

Kelsey Kushner

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