Bauer Parkway toll on Harlem Road is free starting at midnight - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Bauer Parkway toll on Harlem Road is free starting at midnight

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If you've ever used the Harlem Road bridge to cross the Rock River, you've had to stop and deposit 50 cents at the Bauer Parkway Toll.  That toll, is in it's final hours.

Drivers have until midnight to use their toll tokens. After that you wont have to pay to use the Harlem Road bridge ever again.

Daniel Engle usually avoids taking this route. "Now that I know it'll be a free bridge I'll certainly utilize it more," he says.  

And he says, it's about time. The toll opened in 1993. Money collected from drivers went to pay off bonds sold to fund Harlem Road bridge construction .

'It's paid for itself an it's time to move on," says Engle.

Other drivers agree it's the cost of driving this stretch of road that they will miss the least.

"My girlfriend goes through here probably five times or more a week. over time going from daycare to her work it racks up quite a bit. it'll be nice just to cruise right on through," says Bill McNeff.  

For the next two weeks the toll bridge won't look much different.  But drivers will no longer need to stop and drop in change.  

The bridge was originally scheduled to close down April 1st for demolition. That plan was pushed back until after the PUMA Cup soccer tournament. Officials want to make sure visitors can get around easily for the next two weekends.

"For the people in the surrounding area that do have to travel here and here I believe that it'll be a good bet for them not to have to pay 50 cents to get where they need to be in town," says Demetrice Young, another toll bridge user.  

On April 15th, the bridge will be completely closed off as crews dismantle the toll booth. Some motorists, like Ed Manring, are not looking forward to detouring around it. "It's gonna bother a lot of people who use this bridge. They should keep one side open till they get one side tore down," Manring says.  

The Harlem Road bridge will be totally closed for approximately one week once demolition begins.

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