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Chile Without Barriers program: The Government enables the first electronic toll system on the Radial Nororiente freeway

The Public Works Minister, Juan Andrés Fontaine, the Transport Minister, Gloria Hutt, and the General Manager of Costanera Norte, Diego Savino, have launched the first route using this technology.

The Public Works Minister, Juan Andrés Fontaine; the Transport and Telecommunications Minister, Gloria Hutt; and the General Manager of Costanera Norte, Diego Savino, were in charge of implementing the first electronic toll collection system of the Chile sin Barreras (Chile without Barriers) program, commencing operation of this system on the Radial Nororiente freeway.

President Sebastián Piñera announced this plan on May 15, whose first stage considers the intercity routes connecting Santiago. Today, only two months later, electronic toll collection was enabled on the highway’s two main lines (East and West lanes) and its two side lanes (El Llano, exit and entrance).

"This begins the modernization process of our freeway system, raising the standard of our roads to incorporate 21st century technologies; one of these technologies is the smart electronic toll system, like the one being implemented today. In early April I gave the concession companies operating around Santiago 30 days to send me their plans to build  these facilities on their routes. They all did it. We negotiated the corresponding agreements for implementation with all of them, and this is the first one, here in Radial Nororiente," said Minister Fontaine.

With this new toll system, cars will be able to travel this freeway from end to end without any stops, starting at the Enlace Centenario junction on the border of the Vitacura and Huechuraba districts, connecting with Costanera Norte and Américo Vespucio and ending on Route 57, at the intersection with the Route 5 North highway. This translates into a free-flowing 21.5 km stretch without barriers.

In practice, and without accounting for congestion, this means that the average time spent on the road with manual toll booths can be reduced from 21 minutes to just 15 minutes by using automatic tolls. It will also increase vehicle travel speed and improve safety levels.

Minister Fontaine stressed the importance of this system: "This creates huge benefits for people because it saves time. We estimate that once this system has been fully implemented on the 11 tolls around Santiago, it will save Chileans a total of 4 million hours per year. We calculated this with the methodology used in the project's social assessment, projecting annual savings of 150 million dollars. This means more well-being for the people and more productivity for the country.

Meanwhile, Minister Gloria Hutt emphasized the impact the system will have on time savings. "This will directly improve people's quality of life and productivity in the case of cargo. The President has charged us with taking action in all areas that produce well-being for people, and this is one of them.


Other routes

With regard to the other concessioned routes covered by this plan, Minister Fontaine stressed that "we hope to see these systems implemented in Angostura on Route 5 South and in Lo Prado and in Zapata on Route 68 during the summer, and the other two that I mentioned earlier, routes 78 and 57, immediately afterward. We are going to continue with the rest of the country at a later stage. The use of the TAG device for electronic tolls that is common in Santiago's cars has a lower penetration in the rest of the country, so this cannot be done too quickly, but we will certainly move in that direction."

In the case of Route 5 South, the Santiago-Talca stretch will enable electronic toll collection at Nueva Angostura in April 2019. Route 78 will implement this new payment method in the Melipilla I and in the lateral tolls between Santiago and Talagante, which correspond to Américo Vespucio, Rinconada, Padre Hurtado, Malloco and Talagante. In other words, a total of six tolls will become available during the first half of 2019.

Another route considered in the Chile without Barriers program is Route 57 Santiago-Los Andes, where implementation in the Las Canteras toll is expected for the first quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, Route 5 North between Santiago and Los Vilos will enable the free flow system at the new Lampa toll during the coming months of this year.

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