News


I-580 express/toll lanes to open later this month

Solo drivers will pay $9 eastbound, $13 westbound for full length of new lanes

A $55 million project to create express lanes expected to ease congestion along I-580 though Pleasanton and Livermore will be opened later this month, transportation officials said Tuesday.

Alameda County Transportation Commission officials at a news conference in Pleasanton provided details on the lanes, which run in both directions of I-580.

Arthur Dao, the commission'sexecutive director, said the new freeway lanes will open in two weeks although a specific date has yet to be announced until all toll meters are fully tested and operational.

Dao said the opening will represent "a decade of worth of planning, engineering, development and construction to improve mobility in this congested corridor."

The project builds on a network of existing express lanes in the Bay Area, such as on a stretch of I-680 south of Pleasanton, he said.

The new toll lanes consist of a 14-mile westbound lane that begins at Greenville Road in Livermore and ends at San Ramon Road near the I-680 connector.

There are two eastbound lanes, which span 11 miles between Hacienda Boulevard in Pleasanton and Greenville Road in Livermore.

In both directions, there are areas where access into and out of the express lanes are limited, represented through double white lines.

The new lanes, which will be free to vehicles with two or more occupants and during overnight hours, will be costly to others using the lanes are on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Solo drivers that opt use these lanes will be charged up to $9 for the full length in the eastbound direction and $13 in the westbound direction.

The maximum rates apply to those using the full distance of the lanes. The lanes are otherwise divided into zones that drivers pay for based on where they entered and exited.

The minimum cost is 30 cents per zone, with adjustments to that cost being made by an algorithmic pricing system that pulls data about current traffic levels from sensors.

Tess Lengyel, deputy director of planning and policy for the transportation commission, said the tolls were developed to adjust for supply and demand.

Based on the current price displayed on signage when a driver enters the express lane, the driver is charged through an electronic detection system, she said.

"This is the next generation of technology," Lengyel said. "There are no toll booths. This is how the tolls are generated."

As with other express/toll lanes in the system, there will be no cost to motorcyclists, buses, eligible clean-air vehicles or those who would otherwise be able to access a carpool lane. However, those drivers, including al other opting to use the new lanes, will still need to use a FasTrak Flex toll reading device, which can be purchased in various locations, Lengyel said.

The small battery-powered device has adjustable settings based on whether a vehicle has one, two or three-plus occupants.

She explained that toll revenues will be routed completely to operational and maintenance costs for the express lanes. Any additional funds will be used to support transit projects along the corridor.

"We recognize this is a new system and that drivers will have to adjust to this over time," Lengyel said. "We're trying to do a lot of education to make sure that drivers understand how this operates."

Brett Johnson, Bay City News, contributed to this report.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 10, 2016 at 9:57 am

Pleasantonian is a registered user.

This is probably a dumb question but does this mean our old FasTracks are no good? The article in the paper said we need one that shows how many occupants are in the car.


15 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 10, 2016 at 10:10 am

I'm glad California recognizes the fact that rich people are more important. They must get to work and can afford to pay the toll. Perhaps there are other ways the rich can pay and get to the head of other lines. Maybe stores should have toll check outs. Maybe doctors and hospitals should see patients that pay a toll first. Of course the toll money would be used wisely by the government for out betterment.


2 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:02 pm

You need fastrak flex to use I580 express lanes else be ready to pay full charge.


5 people like this
Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 10, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Pleasantonian is a registered user.

Good grief Bob, get real. They drive better cars, take better vacations, can buy choice seats at sporting events, etc. Good for them if they worked hard to have extra cash to do those things. I'd rather they charge the *rich* to use the toll roads than the failed concept of a commuter lane.


3 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 10, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Pleasantonian,

Do you realize that the government used your tax dollars to build a toll lane that you may or may not be able to afford to use? Better yet, they are going to take the toll money and use it as they desire.


Like this comment
Posted by College Bound
a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 10, 2016 at 8:40 pm



Does this mean students going to Las Positas will have to pay a toll everyday just to get to school? Is that correct?


2 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm

Student,

No you only pay the toll if you get in the toll lane which is where the fast lane used to be. You should be fine.


Like this comment
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 10, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Billie is a registered user.

I just wanted to say "Hi", Billie. So unusual to see another "Billie" posting here. It's not a common name, and I've been the only one for years. It's a good thing our hometowns are different lol!


2 people like this
Posted by Fradycove
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 11, 2016 at 6:29 am

Great solution! This is how they address traffic jams. Charging people to increase revenue and waste. Another form of taxation. Rather than planning properly and providing mass transportation at reasonable cost as it is done in other developed and undeveloped countries.


1 person likes this
Posted by BFin94566
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 11, 2016 at 9:45 am

Please explain why they needed to add lighting to the highway during this project. Just an additional waste of electricity and taxpayer money. Additional light pollution. I'm suspecting the manufacturer has a politician or two in his pocket.


Like this comment
Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm

First, if you don't like the lane, or the concept of the lane, don't use it.

Second, the State is mandated to build carpool lanes. Until the lanes get filled, the State offers their use to solo drivers for a fee. It's a great way to generate revenue. When the lane reaches capacity, it will be closed to non-carpools. When it fill;s again, the number of occupants that qualify for a carpool will be increased.


6 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm

@Registered Joe - "It's a great way to generate revenue." No its not. For the i680 Express Lane, at least, there has been no generation of a budget surplus since it opened. It has always relied on a state grant to make up for an operational loss. MTC admitted as much a few months ago.
The problem is that the people who come up with these ideas don't listen to commuters or even to CalTrans. Caltrans wanted the Express Lane built going northbound on i680. But MTC, i.e. Scott Haggerty, wanted the Express Lane built on top of the existing carpool lane. Very, very stupid. Now we have a southbound freeway that is worst then before the Express Lane was built, we have the i680/84 interchange totally screwed up because CalTrans didn't know what they were doing, and a northbound commute that can only be described as a daily trip through hell.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 11, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Have to agree with Bill. Having it one way only makes zero sense. Really the better investment would be in a flexible lane system like the bridge. Add lanes to the heavy flow traffic during peak times, remove lanes from the low flow direction. Money and resources better utilized.


Like this comment
Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2016 at 10:42 pm

Again, the State is mandated to build carpool lanes when it expands freeway capacity. End of story - if you don't like it, then elect legislators that will change the law in Sacramento. Given this, the express toll idea is a neat way to get some revenue, as opposed to zero revenue, which would be the case if the lanes in question were simply carpool.

Nobody expected the toll lanes to run at a profit (to generate a "budget surplus").

Whether the 580 toll lanes or the southbound 680 toll lane are in the optimal place, that's another question. The 680 south lane was easier and cheaper to build than the northbound. A movable barrier that did one way in the AM and the other in the PM would be great, but unreasonably expensive. Look how expensive that solution is on the GG Bridge - $30 million - and remember that that span is only a mile long.


1 person likes this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 12, 2016 at 9:55 am

@ Registered Joe - You must be a politician or a least should run for an office. "Given this, the express toll idea is a neat way to get some revenue, as opposed to zero revenue, which would be the case if the lanes in question were simply carpool."If the revenue you collect doesn't even pay for the operation of the Express Lane, then you are stealing taxpayers money. The carpool lane is paid for by state bonds. The Express Lane operation was to be self supporting from the revenue collection.
"Nobody expected the toll lanes to run at a profit (to generate a "budget surplus")." Sorry Joe but this idea was sold to the public as a way to raise funds to support public transpiration. All it has done so far is cost the taxpayer more money. "The 680 south lane was easier and cheaper to build than the northbound." Duh - but the question is what was needed and the answer was a northbound carpool lane. The southbound carpool lane was fine the way it was. They just threw money at something that already worked and made it not work. How crazy is that.
Something to think about - Xerox was hired by MTC to run the Bay Area Fastrak collection. The Better Business Bureau has continually rated Xerox Fastrak with a F-. Who in their right mind would continue to use a company that was given a failing grade by the BBB every single year. The only reason I can figure out is that Xerox is lining the campaign pockets of the officials on the transportation agencies in the Bay Area.
Another thing to think about - the CHP signed on to police the Express Lane and according to the initial study were to receive 1 million dollars per year for this task. But what have they been doing instead? They have been in 7th heaven because CalTrans in all their stupidity created a ticket trap at the i680/84 interchange. This did not exist before the Express Lane. Why should the CHP bother to patrol the Express Lane when writing tickets at 680/84 is like shooting fish in a barrel.


3 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Just wait till Bart to Livermore goes in and they have to rip everything out for the tracks and new station, good planning cal trans, reach right into my back pocket again, always plenty of money in that wallet for you guys to take.


Like this comment
Posted by John McConnell
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 16, 2016 at 8:37 pm

As a commuter transplant form the San Diego / Los Angeles area (5 yrs now) - now commuting for Vasco to Pleasanton (Thant takes 45 mins on average for a 10 mile ride) I'd gladly pay for the express lanes. The challenges are not always the roads, rather in my opinion it is the operator behind the wheel. I will say I believe distracted drives tend to be the cause majority the slow downs and "accidents." If I can pay a few dollars to avoid these distracted persons - as the are no straitaway side roads built by the cities (a constant fail in the Bay Area) - and be safer, I'll gladly pay. LA/SD traffic is not as bad as the Bay Area, and they have far less land to utilize, built by the same CalTrans group others poo poo on. So maybe it is not CalTrans entirely.


2 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2016 at 12:12 pm

@ John McConnell - "LA/SD traffic is not as bad as the Bay Area, and they have far less land to utilize, built by the same CalTrans group others poo poo on. So maybe it is not CalTrans entirely." i580 was built in the 1960s. Little has been done to increase its traffic handling capabilities. But in the last 25 years the area that i580 services has increased in population by a huge amount. Tracy has grown 120%. Its population was half that of Pleasanton in 1990 now has a larger population, even though Pleasanton has grown by 42% in the same period. Dublin has increased by a whopping 93% in 25 years. Livermore has grown by 37%. The once small towns surrounding Tracy (Manteca,Patterson, Mountain House, Lathrop, Ripon) now add considerable commuter traffic where none existed before. The Bay Area uses the principle of lets let the developers build as much as they like and see what happens. LA would call this jackass crazy, but in the Bay Area this is planned progress.


1 person likes this
Posted by Shuttles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm

There should be corporate or Hacienda shuttles that pick up in Tracy, maybe ? just one Livermore/Vasco stop, then directly into Hacienda.


1 person likes this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Who decided that not having a "fly-over" from westbound 580 to southbound 680 was a good idea??? What a cluster, worst design ever, guess it was easier to have everybody cut through our town!


2 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

To Map, when they built the flyover only one way (680N to 580E), but not the other way you mentioned, everone laughed. It was clear to the untrained eye that flyovers both ways were needed, but for some reason the trained professionals put in the flyover from 680S to 580E instead. An absolute failure of common sense.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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