Oklahoma Turnpike Authority prepares to deactivate old Pikepass units

Oklahoma Pikepass customers who don't get new windshield stickers face a $25 fine every time they go through an electronic reader. About 14 percent of the 590,000 Pikepass customers, about 88,000 account holders, haven't gotten the new stickers, which have been available since March.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: November 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm •  Published: November 30, 2012
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Unlike the old Pikepass units, which could be moved between vehicles, customers are required to have a sticker tag for each vehicle.. The tag stops working as soon as it is removed from a windshield.

The Turnpike Authority switched to tags because the hard-case units are no longer being produced. It's expected the turnpike will issue about 1.4 million windshield stickers.

The sticker tags should solve a problem with hard-case units that are switched between the same account holder's vehicles. Also, when the hard-case units aren't mounted correctly, electronic readers at the turnpike gates can misread or not read the tags.

More cables planned

Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley told Turnpike Authority members the number of deadly crossover accidents has decreased as more cable barriers are installed. The number of people who have died because of crossover accidents on highways maintained by the state Transportation Department dropped from 39 in 2007 to four in 2011, he said.

“Every life is important, and one loss of life is too many,” Ridley said.

Nine people died on the state's turnpikes in 2011 because of crossover accidents, he said. Six were killed in one wreck.

“These fatalities on the turnpike system will be reduced,” Ridley said. “The single most direct reduction of fatality accidents … is putting in these cable barriers.”

Cable barriers are to be installed on turnpikes where no barriers are in place, with priority given to areas where crossover accidents have occurred, he said.

Authority members approved three projects Thursday to install cable barriers. A $7.8 million contract was awarded to Duit Construction to install 27 miles of cable barrier on the Cimarron Turnpike in Noble, Pawnee and Payne counties, and a $1.9 million contract was approved for TTK Construction to install five miles of cable barrier on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike in Cotton County.

More cable barrier projects are included in the turnpike system's capital improvements plan for the next five years.

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