$49-million I-580 eastbound carpool lane opened to traffic

Hacienda-Portola Avenue section completed below budget, year ahead of schedule

The completion of the second phase of a new, 11-mile carpool lane on eastbound Interstate Highway 580 between Pleasanton and Livermore was celebrated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony near the highway yesterday.

California Department of Transportation and Alameda County Transportation Commission officials said the carpool lane is expected to ease traffic in the area, which currently sees more than 170,000 vehicles a day.

The project cost $49 million, which is $23 million less than what had been budgeted, and was completed a year ahead of schedule. It was mostly funded by Proposition 1B, a $19.9 billion transportation bond that was approved by California voters in 2006. Transportation officials said the project was completed for far less than had been expected because of the highly competitive bidding market among contractors seeking business.

The section that opened Wednesday goes from Hacienda Drive in Pleasanton to Portola Road in Livermore. The first segment, which is from Portola Road to Greenville Road in Livermore, opened in October 2009.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said in a statement, "It is wonderful to see this new lane open knowing that it will bring congestion relief to this vital corridor."

Caltrans Director Cindy McKim said, "This project provided much-needed jobs and created transportation infrastructure that will benefit the Bay Area now and for decades to come."

Caltrans officials said preliminary studies show that commuters have already experienced a time savings of up to 25 minutes along the eastbound Highway 580 corridor as a result of the completion of the carpool lane project. The second phase actually was opened last Friday, and the studies included the first few days that all 11 miles of the carpool lane were open.

Union City Mayor Mark Green, the chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission, said, "The new carpool lane is an important step in our overall plan to reduce and manage congestion in the Tri-Valley area."

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2010 at 10:04 am

Although this wasn't a Federal Stimulus project, it is a great example of why stimulus spending on infrastructure works. If the project was going to be done at some point anyways, the government is able to complete the project at far lower cost than if it had been done during boom times, while it keeps construction companies afloat and costruction workers employed.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 11, 2010 at 11:32 am

Stacey is a registered user.

In my mind, the thing that really helps is the very long weave lane added on the right between El Charro and Airway Blvd. This article doesn't make mention of it. So it isn't a four lane + one HOV lane highway anymore but a five lane + one HOV lane highway. That is allowing better traffic flow for cars getting on and off the freeway, giving plenty of room to merge. Cars already on the freeway don't have to slow up to allow short-distance merging and cars getting off don't have to slow up in a through-lane, slowing down traffic for everyone. They're also working on completing the fifth lane between Airway and the new Isabel interchange and that can only be good news.

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Posted by Shay
a resident of Danville
on Nov 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Unfortunately, the article makes no mention that Ghilotti Construction also worked very hard on this project.

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Posted by Debbie
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I agree with the earlier poster, the additional exit-only lane to Airway Blvd. makes a HUGE difference. If they turn the HOV lane into a toll lane, you can expect traffic to worsen again as drivers use the exit-only lane not to exit at Airway but to leapfrog ahead of slower traffic, as they do at Tassajara.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I took the drive today during afternoon commute hours. There was hardly any delay. The traffic speeds seemed about the same between the carpool lane and the two open left lanes. There didn't seem to be any advantage to taking the carpool lane. That reinforces my belief that it is the fifth lane that is helping improve traffic flow more than the carpool lane.

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Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm

This has been needed for a very long time. Merging onto Airway to get to Las Positas after about 8:30am or so is NEVER fun... of course, the crazy drivers won't change, but maybe this will make conditions a little less dangerous; I've seen way too many fender benders on that little stretch of road.

Like this comment
Posted by Taxed Enough
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Why do they want to tax drivers yet again?
They already tax gasolene, and car registration, supposedly to pay for the roads- then steal the money for other uses, and now they managed to install a Lexus Lane that mostly benefits the very well to do, to whom $5 is not a half hour's work, or the cost of a Pizza at Ceasar Ceasars.
A car pool lane to encourage less cars makes sense- allowing the rich to buy their way out of traffic jams, while leaving the poor stuck does not.

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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm

I'm a little confused, it doesn't say anywhere in that article that there is a plan to make it a toll this really in the works?

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Posted by Kim
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Too bad the 680 Carpool/Toll lane didn't make traffic better like this lane has. I think whomever designed the 680 Toll/Carpool lane should have taken a lesson from the 580 designer. The same designer could not have done both 580 and 680.

680 was a bust.

Like this comment
Posted by kickthebumsout
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

what's the plan for west bound? does anyone know?

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Posted by In the know
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Nov 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

Westbound is in later stages of design and is scheduled to begin construction in Summer 2011 according to Caltrans.

Like this comment
Posted by pete
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Nov 25, 2010 at 5:10 am

Imagine if most of the commuters would be part of a carpool…it would be so much easier to get into the city. I tried the carbon dioxide and driving cost calculator of the carpooling network ( Web Link ) and they suggest huge savings: up to 2000$ and 1,5 tons of GHG per year.

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