Seasonal visitors may be caught by surprise by toll roads that no longer accept cash, such as the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa. One reader contacted the Doc to say he found himself unexpectedly confronted with a toll area that accepted only SunPass and was unsure about what to do. "I did not have a SunPass, nor was there an option to pay a toll. Cars started blowing their horns and I was forced to go through and I will probably get a ticket," he wrote.
Here's what motorists need to know: The Selmon Expressway stopped accepting cash at tolls a little over a year ago, moving to all-electronic tolling. Motorists may buy a SunPass to use this and other toll roads statewide or drive on through the toll plaza and receive a "drive now pay later" bill in the mail.
How does this work? The Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority takes a photo of your license plate as your vehicle passes through the plaza and sends you a bill about seven days after you first use the road and then every 30 days thereafter.
There are a variety of ways to set up a SunPass account and several options of types of passes. Visit the SunPass website at www.sunpass.com for information or call toll-free 1-888-865-5352. For information about the Selmon Expressway, including updates on road work and detours, visit www.tampa-xway.com.
Tow to Go offers a ride through the holidays
Don't forget that AAA Club South and Budweiser will once again provide their free Tow to Go towing program throughout the holidays to drivers who have imbibed too much. AAA says that the program has removed more than 14,000 drunk drivers from roads since the program began in 1998. Anyone, AAA member or not, may call for a Tow to Go ride through the end of the designated holiday period, which runs through Jan. 2. The service provides a confidential ride and tow home from any bar or restaurant free of charge to motorists who may have had too much to drink. The number to call is toll-free 1-800-AAA-HELP (4357).
• The state Department of Transportation has suspended interstate closures throughout the Tampa Bay area over the Thanksgiving holiday period, which runs through Monday morning. This includes the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and construction zones in Hernando, Hills- borough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.
• Seminole motorists should be alert to inspectors checking out the bridge that crosses Lake Seminole this week. Look out for workers on foot on the 102nd Avenue bridge between Seminole Boulevard and 97th Street N. The inspection will be ongoing from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
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