Thursday, September 16, 2010

HOT Lane – Making Interstate 680 Sexy in the Bay Area

The Bay Area’s first express lane will be unveiled next Monday. The 14 miles express lane will start at Highway 84 in Sunol and end at Highway 237 in Milpitas, operating from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Motorists will have a one mile warning before entering the lane, and tolls are announced prior to entry. The lane allows single occupancy vehicles to travel with those carpooling for a fluctuating toll based on congestion. Tolls will range from “a minimum of 30 cents when traffic in the other lanes is light to a maximum of whatever it takes to keep traffic flowing at 50 mph or faster. Express lane officials estimate that cost will average $4 to $6.

The HOT Lane is only separated from traffic by two white lines painted on the pavement. There will be a few designated entrance and exit points as well as California Highway Patrol watching for violators. If vehicles are found in the lane without a transmitter, police will pull the vehicle over - “citations start at $381 and vary by city and county.”

The lane provides drivers with an option. Mark Green, Union City mayor and chairman of the Alameda County Transportation Commission adds, "If you're late to a job site, if you're late picking up your kids, if you're late getting to Little League baseball practice. It's a tremendous opportunity for people."