Opening of the first motorway without toll gates

Toll collection without barriers. This is what motorists will discover on Friday, November 4, on the A79 motorway linking Montmarault, in Allier, to Digoin, in Saône-et-Loire, operated by Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône (APRR, subsidiary of the Eiffage group). A first in France, after the experiment at the Boulay interchange (Moselle), on the A4 motorway.

Pay without stopping

Users will be able to travel at the authorized speed, without slowing down or stopping, passing through gates equipped with cameras and sensors that will identify their vehicle. The motorist can choose between several methods to pay. The simplest solution will be to obtain a classic electronic toll badge, regardless of the supplier.

It will also be possible to pay on the site of the new motorway, either by permanently registering your registration number and bank details, or by paying for each passage. For motorists who wish to pay in cash or by credit card, 16 terminals will be located along the highway.

The customer will have 72 hours to pay for his journey, failing which a fine of €90 will be added to the amount of the toll. If he does not pay within 60 days, he will be charged a fine of €375. In order to carry out these checks, the operator will have access to the file of European registration plates.

Towards a generalization of these highways

All the new Eiffage group motorways will adopt this new system, such as the future A69 between Toulouse and Castres. Already tested by the Société des Autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France (Sanef, a subsidiary of the Spanish group Albertis) at the Boulay interchange on the A4, the removal of the barriers and their replacement by gantries will take place on the entire Normandy motorway (A13), operated by Sanef, between mid-2024 and mid-2025.

Among the next motorways to switch to free flow, the Autoroute blanche (A40) in Haute-Savoie, which the company Autoroutes et tunnel du Mont-Blanc (ATMB) intends to convert ” medium term “citing the air quality in the Arve Valley as the reason.

This system of “free flow” highways has been widespread in many countries for some time: between Johannesburg and Pretoria in South Africa; around Toronto, Canada; on the urban highways of Santiago de Chile; in many US states; on Autostrada Pedemontana Lombarda near Milan, Italy; on many roads in Norway; on half of the motorways in Portugal or on the motorways to enter Gothenburg or Stockholm, in Sweden.

A state request

When the State selected APRR to build the A79, it explicitly requested that the free-flow motorway system be adopted. The abolition of electronic tolls with barriers would reduce traffic jams and thus CO2 emissions. In addition, it would reduce the area occupied by highways.

“The objective is to straighten the highway”by returning to nature 28 hectares, i.e. the equivalent of 40 football pitches, currently occupied by toll stations, specifies Arnaud Quemard, Managing Director of the Sanef group, about the A13 in Normandy. It also promises time and fuel savings.

“Today, on the toll in Normandy, we have around 150 employees. To operate the same highway in free flow, we will need about 300who will mainly deal with customer relations, says Arnaud Quemard. We have a huge challenge of retraining our staff, and we have guaranteed to all our toll employees that we will find suitable employment for them. » The investment is valued at around 120 million euros, partly covered by a modest annual increase in tolls.

Source : BBN NEWS

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