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."