Card Sound toll close delayed a month

The county postponed the closing date for the last hand-collected toll on Card Sound Road from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1.

The reason for the delay is to allow Florida Power & Light time to relocate its power lines before the construction of the new all-electronic tolling booth at the north end of Card Sound Bridge, said Cammy Clark, Monroe County public relations officer.

“Signs will be posted to alert drivers of the change,” Clark said.

The new system is scheduled to be in operation by March 9, 2018.

Tolls will be collected via drivers’ Sunpass transponders. The toll station will include camera readers, wiring and computer hardware. That construction contract, awarded to Tennessee-based Transcore, is budgeted at $834,800, “although about $166,000 is for contingencies that may not be needed,” Clark said. The design-build contract of $1.79 million was awarded to engineering consultants Keith & Schnars.

The project is being paid for with money from the Card Sound Toll Fund, which contains money collected from the toll over the years.

It’s not clear if the toll will remain $1 per two-axle vehicle — plus 50 cents for each additional axle, Clark said. The Monroe County Commission is expected to take up the issue in the fall.

Because vehicles must stop to pay the toll now, county officials do not want cars and trucks to speed through the area, by the popular Alabama Jack’s restaurant and bar, once there is no more toll. The project is being designed by the county and Halley Engineering Contractors Inc. with measures to prevent drivers from speeding.

These features include keeping the lane width at the minimum 11 feet in lieu of 12 feet; adding a 7-foot-wide median at the toll site, pavement markings, plastic delineators and striping on the shoulders (called the narrow bridge treatment) to create a more narrow roadway effect that results in slower speeds; installing solar, flashing beacon speed signs that show how fast drivers are going; installing rumble strips that raise awareness for drivers; and reducing the speed limit approaching the toll from the current 45 mph to 35 mph; and installing appropriate signs.