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I ain’t gonna pay no toll!

The Kansas Turnpike has introduced “open road tolling” recently. This allows drivers with an electronic collection device in their vehicle to drive through a dedicated lane without having to slow down.

This was introduced in Oklahoma a long time ago. However, this was at a time when Kansas toll tags were not operational in Oklahoma and vice versa, meaning you had to have a separate tag for each state. Fortunately, Oklahoma’s tags in those days were like Kansas, where they were attached to the windshield by velcro, meaning you could change them as you crossed the state lines.

About six years ago, Oklahoma eliminated the hard case tags and went to a sticker which could not be removed once it was mounted. Fortunately, I did not have any trips to Oklahoma in that time, and by time I went back through the state–on the trip to Louisiana in April–the Kansas and Oklahoma tags were able to be used in the other state.

The first open road lanes on the Kansas Turnpike were opened early this year at the eastern terminal near Bonner Springs. It has been quite convenient, since the toll plaza often backs up, especially if there is heavy traffic heading towards Kansas City.

I discovered today that the open road tolling lanes have been installed on I-70 at the east end of Topeka.

Sadly, the biggest problem of open road tolling propped up today.

A truck from Illinois flew through the open road lane without a tag. I knew he didn’t have a tag because there was nothing affixed to his windshield under the mirror.

I wanted to contact the Highway Patrol and report the truck, but I didn’t.

Some jurisdictions have completely eliminated toll booths and toll takers at some interchanges, instead instituting a toll-by-plate program for those who do not have a tag. To my knowledge, this hasn’t been implemented in Kansas, or why else would there be toll booths and attendants at the locations with open road tolling?

It reminds me of a line from the C.W. McCall Classic “Convoy”: “we just ain’t gonna pay no toll!” The truck looked like it was in a hurry to get somewhere and I lost track of it past Lawrence.

Other than that, no trouble driving to Kansas City. I stopped in Salina to get a haircut. Ashley at Sport Clips cropped me really close. Tomorrow is my next back treatment in Prairie Village with Andrea. Now I know what to expect.

As for the rest of the day I’m debating. I am just not into trivia as much as I have been in the past. Nor am I really hankering for barbecue.

Danger lurking

In my last post I forgot to mention I nearly got sideswiped coming to Kansas City.

It was on the Kansas Turnpike just east of the Topeka service plaza. I’m in the left lane, and some dumbass in a Ford Fiesta attempted to change lanes without looking. I gave him a good blast of my horn. If he had hit me, it really would have been bad, because I would have careened into the concrete barrier. The Turnpike does not have a median like most interstate highways in rural areas. The Turnpike was built before the interstate highway system came into existence (not by much), so the Turnpike is grandfathered from the existing standards. The Pennsylvania Turnpike also has no medians, instead concrete barriers for its long journey from the Ohio state line to Philadelphia.

I tried my best not to look at him as I drove east, and for the most part it was successful. I finally lost him at the toll plaza near Bonner Springs, since he was in a long line in one of the cash lines, and I zipped right through in the tag lane.

Good thing I have a toll tag for the Turnpike. It came in really handy today, when there were long backups in the ticket lane at Topeka and the cash lanes at Bonner Springs. Some days, the tag line is as long as the ticket/cash line, but today, that definitely wasn’t the case, especially at the east end.

Actually, the Turnpike does not end until two miles east of I-635, although no tolls are collected between that point and the K-7/US 73 exit at Bonner Springs. There used to be a toll booth at Bonner Springs, but when the Kansas Speedway opened in 2001, ridiculous backups became commonplace, so the Kansas Turnpike Authority moved the toll plaza to mile marker 217, six miles west of the Bonner Springs exit.

The last thing I need is an accident. The Chevy is almost paid off, and my Allstate agent, Phil Aitken, informed my mother yesterday that my yearly insurance premium is dropping from almost $2,500 to $1,080. I don’t want another claim, even if the accident wouldn’t be my fault.