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Testing of the Rockland-based cashless system begins in the fall and goes to work spring 2016. The Tarrytown toll plaza will be demolished and eventually rebuilt to collect all tolls electronically.

SOUTH NYACK - What is that massive steel skeleton above the southbound Thruway just before the Tappan Zee Bridge?

It's part of a new all-electronic toll collection system for the bridge. It was recently installed across from Exit 10 in South Nyack.

"It seemed like it appeared overnight", commuter Jerry Perlmutter said of the shiny, hulking structure.

By spring, every toll will be collected electronically, the majority through E-ZPass, meaning drivers wont have to stop or slow down to pay. For those without E-ZPass, cameras on the frame will take a photo of the license plate and the vehicles' owner will receive a monthly bill in the mail.

Cameras will be installed over the next six to eight weeks. Testing will begin in the fall, but drivers will still pay their tolls at the Tarrytown plaza until the electronic system is fully implemented.

src="/images/tzb_tolls.jpg" alt="tzb tolls" width="250" height="188" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right;" />The highly-sophisticated system detects which classes of vehicles are traveling and applies the correct toll for passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, buses and motorcycles, states the website for the new $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge, which is also known as the New NY Bridge.

About 25 million trips requiring a toll are made across the 3-mile bridge annually, with about 80 percent of drivers paying by E-ZPass.

According to the project website, more than 35 bridges, tunnels and roads nationwide employ all-electronic tolling, with 13 more coming soon.

One major downside is state tolling authorities lack the tools to go after toll dodgers. You need only look at the Henry Hudson Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Manhattan, and went all-electronic in late 2012. Some $4 million in tolls remain uncollected, with fines piling up.

To date, local lawmakers have been unsuccessful in passing legislation to give the agencies more enforcement power but vow to continue the fight.

When the temporary system goes live in Rockland in 2016, the Tarrytown toll plaza will be demolished and a new permanent system to collect tolls electronically will be built on site opening in 2018.

Perlmutter, a New City resident who has been commuting over the bridge to his pharmacist job in Westchester since 1973, said paying tolls electronically could help keep traffic flowing.

If you're thinking you might be able to duck the tolls on Thruway by getting on the bridge from South Nyack, think again.

A steel frame will be installed on the entrance ramp in the next four to six weeks. Following testing, it too will be activated in the spring.