State freeway planners want to convert the carpool lanes on I-680 between Dublin and Walnut Creek to toll lanes in an effort to keep traffic moving.
Representatives of Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission went public with their plan last night at a meeting in the San Ramon Community Center.
They said the carpool lanes, similar to thos on I-680 south of Hwy. 84, would continue to be free to vehicles with two or more drivers, but also wold be available to solo drivers willing to pay a toll. The toll would vary depending on freeway volume and presumably, as on the toll lane on I-680 to the south, would be open free of charge to all motorists during light traffic periods.
The express/toll lanes would replace carpool lanes on southbound I-680 from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard in Dublin and on northbound I-680 from Alcosta Boulevard to the Livorna Road exit in Alamo.
MTC officials said the express lanes would be free for the same motorists currently allowed in carpool lanes, including vanpools and buses.
The proposed changes are intended to ease congestion on the freeway, particularly in the morning commute hours when traffic is projected to slow by about 5 mph and to about 10 mph during the evening commute by 2015, according to Lisa Klein, manager of the MTC's Express Lanes program.