Ohio River Bridges Project leaps forward with new Kapsch RiverLink AET system


Drivers can now set up their RiverLink accounts for toll payments, ahead of the Ohio River Bridges Project’s (ORBP) completion later this year. The project will conclude one of the largest ever transportation improvement projects in the USA.

The new RiverLink all-electronic tolling (AET) system officially opened its doors for business on July 21. With the new AET system there are no toll booths or cash or coin machines, which eliminates the need for drivers to stop and pay a cash toll in a traditional tolling plaza to use any of the three bridges. Drivers can choose either a RiverLink local transponder free of charge, which can be used on the RiverLink tolled bridges, or a RiverLink E-ZPass transponder that costs US$15 and works on toll roads in all 16 E-ZPass Interagency Group (IAG) member states. The RiverLink local transponders are available now, while drivers who choose a RiverLink E-ZPass transponder will receive it later in 2016, before the RiverLink bridges go into full revenue service.

Kapsch won the contract to supply toll collection equipment and transponders to the ORBP in January 2014. Under the contract, Kapsch supplies both E-ZPass-compatible TDM transponders, and ISO 18000 6C sticker transponders, along with the Kapsch JANUS Multi-protocol Reader II (MPR2) (below), which reads both kinds of tags. The company also won the US$41m Toll Services Provider contract, which comprises delivery of the entire roadside tolling system, including operational and commercial back office systems, and all commercial operations. As part of its responsibility as Toll Services Provider, Kapsch provides online access, walk-up centers, telephone call center access, and a mobile events van.

“This important project is truly a team effort that spans over 24 months in detailed design, planning and execution,” said Chris Murray, president of Kapsch TrafficCom North America. “We look forward to operating this system for the next seven years, and also to providing continuous improvement and optimization for drivers within this busy transportation corridor.”

The ORBP consists of the design and construction of two new bridges over the Ohio River to connect the states of Kentucky and Indiana in the Louisville-Southern Indiana metropolitan area. The project also involves more than 100 highway bridges, a 1,700ft-long (518m) hard-rock tunnel, and more than 100 right-of-way acquisitions.

The new Downtown Crossing, now named the Abraham Lincoln Bridge, was built by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and will increase capacity and improve safety on the existing I-65 crossing between downtown Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana.

The new East End Bridge was built by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), is located 8 miles (12.8km) upstream from the Downtown Crossing, and will connect Prospect, Kentucky, and Utica, Indiana. It will complete a long-needed highway loop around the Louisville-Southern Indiana metropolitan area, connecting the extension of the Snyder Freeway (I-265) with Indiana State Road 265. The project also includes a total revamping of the existing Kennedy Bridge on I-65 in downtown Louisville, and the rebuilding of the I-65, I-64 and I-71 interchanges.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).