Allston-Brighton Tolls

If you’re planning on hitting road for Thanksgiving this week, you may be able to save a little cash while doing so. The Mass Pike toll plaza at the Allston-Brighton interchange will be free on Wednesday, November 21, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.. The hour of free travel is sponsored by Plymouth Rock Assurance, a local insurance company.

The free tolls will save drivers $1.25, or $1.00 if they have an E-ZPass. While the tolls are free, drivers must still stop at the tollbooth or go through the FastLane/E-ZPass lanes with their transponders.

In addition to the free tolls on Wednesday, all 18 MassDOT service plazas will be doling our free coffee, courtesy of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Gulf. The free coffee will be available between 10 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, until 5 a.m. on Friday, November 23, in order to promote safe and alert driving.

The free tolls and coffee couldn’t come at a better time. Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) said it expects peak on travel to be on Tuesday, November 20, Wednesday, November 21 and Sunday, November 25. MassDOT expects the busiest roads to be:

I-90 Exit 9 connecting I-84 to Connecticut and New York experiences heavy traffic and busy toll plazas. To avoid delays on busy days, drivers are encouraged to consider travel during the early morning or after 8 p.m.

Traffic congestion is also expected at the I-95 and I-495 Turnpike interchanges along with I-495 and I-93 northbound leading into New Hampshire.

This summer, the Boston Symphony Orchestra sponsored free tolls on the Mass Pike’s Allston-Brighton interchange to celebrate Tanglewood’s 75th Anniversary Season in the Bay State. Last Thanksgiving, Zappos sponsored free tolls for two hours at the same interchange as part of its Happiness Campaign.

While our pocketbooks may be enjoying the free tolls, a recent Muck Rock report found that the tolls are costly for sponsoring companies. For Zappos’ campaign last fall, the company paid MassDOT a $5,000 sponsorship fee, as well as a $22,500 advance for estimated toll revenue, $500 for a police detail, and $300 for MassDOT employee overtime hours — a grand total of $28,300 for Zappos.

Given those numbers, be sure to say an extra “thanks” to Plymouth Rock Assurance for the free tolls at your Thanksgiving table this year.