Express Lane Usage is Rising
Since the opening of the express lane facility, over 1,070,000 solo drivers have reached their destinations by traveling at speeds that are typically 7-15 miles per hour faster than that which motorists experience in the general purpose lanes, during peak commute hours. The express lane facility had a strong performance during the month of January 2013 when compared to similar time period in 2012. The average daily number of toll paying trips has increased by 25 percent, an indication that more and more solo drivers have chosen to leave the general purposes lanes and use the express lane, instead to experience the travel reliability and time savings. While it appears that traffic congestion has returned to the corridor with upward economic activities noted in Silicon Valley, the average travel speed in the express lane continues to remain at or above the posted speed limit.
Hybrids Now Need FasTrak
California law changed July 1, 2011 ending the carpool lane benefit for hybrid vehicles with yellow stickers. Hybrid drivers now need FasTrak to use the I-680 Express Lane. However, White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available for certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. White-sticker vehicles can use the Express Lane for free.
First, an Eastbound Carpool Lane
The I-580 Eastbound HOV Lane Project (Segments 1 and 2) are complete and the new eastbound carpool lane was opened to traffic in 2010.
Current I-580 Projects
Construction is currently underway on the Westbound HOV Lane Project (Segments 1 and 2) which will build a new carpool lane, approximately 13 miles long, in the westbound direction, through the I-580 corridor in theTri-Valley. In addition, the Eastbound Auxiliary (AUX) Lane Project (Segment 3 of the HOV lane) was awarded fall 2012. Field activities on both projects began spring 2013 and work will continue through next year, with expected completion of both projects in fall 2014. Beginning late 2014, approximately 22 miles of new carpool lanes in both the eastbound and westbound directions along I-580, will be converted to an express lane facility. In 2015, the express lanes will open for use.
The I-580 Express Lanes will give solo drivers the option to pay to use the lanes and avoid traffic related congestion, while offering toll-free travel for carpools, vanpools, motorcycles, buses and eligible clean air vehicles.