It may be more efficient to totally automate the Kansas Turnpike toll plazas, but it's still a little sad to see the toll-booth workers phased out.
The Turnpike Authority has announced that the new interchange under construction in Leavenworth County will be the first unstaffed interchange on the toll road. Motorists entering or leaving the turnpike at that location must either use the K-Tag lane or pay their tolls at a payment machine. Plans are to equip about 10 turnpike plazas with the automatic equipment, including the Lecompton interchange and the new East Lawrence toll plaza.
Efficiency is great, but who's going to give people directions when they get off the turnpike? Or let them know if dangerous road conditions exist when they get on? And, from a more practical standpoint, who's going to deal with the clueless and K-Tag-less motorists who pull into the K-Tag lane and sit there helplessly while traffic backs up behind them?
KTA officials apparently have thought this through and decided the problems aren't insurmountable. Still, when the technology runs amok, it might be good to have at least one real person on duty to get things back on track.