VERIFY: What time do the tunnel tolls change?

Tolling readers at a tunnel.
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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- Starting January 1, you’ll need to pay more to cross the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels. But there’s some confusion over Elizabeth River Crossings’ updated pricing chart.

13News Now viewer Robbie B. pointed out the chart shows you pay two prices at 5:30 a.m. as well as at other times peak pricing begins and ends. 

We worked to verify if 5:30 is off-peak pricing. 

According to ERC’s pricing chart, if you travel through the Downtown Tunnel on Monday at 5:30 a.m. with an E-ZPass, the toll rate could be either $1.73 or $2.09. The difference is just 36 cents, but that adds up quickly for daily commuters. 

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SEE ALSO: Enrollment opens for 2018 VDOT toll relief program

To verify what price you’ll pay if you cross at 5:30, we turned to Carley Dobson, the communication manager at ERC. She says transaction times are actually calculated at the toll zone in milliseconds, not minutes.

That means you need impeccable timing to get the off peak-pricing, because as soon as the clock hits 5:30 and one millisecond, peak pricing starts. 

So we can verify 5:30 is off-peak pricing... but for exactly one millisecond. 

Bottom line: if you don’t cross by 5:29, assume you will be paying the higher of the two rates.