SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — It has been here since 1937, surviving storms, lots of fog and earthquakes. But the Art Deco toll plaza on the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge may not survive the march of technology.
According to Golden Gate Bridge District spokeswoman Priya David Clemens, “the tolling equipment in the current toll plaza is getting to the end of its useful life.”
Soon California will require upgrades and standardization of all tolling equipment statewide.
The bridge district is starting the planning process now.
“We could put in the same old thing we have right now or we could look at what new technology is out there and what will pave the way for the future,” said Clemens.
The first proposal may be going to a modern gantry structure bristling with special sensors.
The district is going to get your money one way or another but they say it’s not just about money.
“It’s also about worker safety because a gantry is a system that workers can come up on top and do all their maintenance without getting in the way of traffic,” Clemens explained.
Many visiting tourists who saw an illustration of the proposed gantry said they’ve seen this all across the nation. Albert Mislow, who is from Florida exclaimed “Oh! Like in Florida. It’s the automatic tolls.”
There’s one item that seems to be sacred — the toll plaza clock.
When asked what would happen to the clock if the plaza is replaced, Clemens said, “there is no way we would be able to lose that clock. We love the clock! It is part of the Golden Gate Bridge.”
Of course, any proposal of this magnitude — in this particular place — will be debated for a very long time, before anything actually changes.