ALAMO, Calif. - 23-miles of new express lanes will be open to drivers in the East Bay on Monday. But many drivers in the 680 Corridor are still confused by the changes that will bring to traffic flow.
Carpool cheaters? Not anymore. They will become paying customers.
From Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon, the new express lanes north and southbound are ready to become a new expressway for commuters in a hurry.
The route is divided into two tolls zones- north of Crow Canyon and south of Crow Canyon.
If you go into the far left lane anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. you pay to ride in each zone and must have a FasTrak transponder to pay.
John Goodwin with the Metropolitan transportation commission says the minimum toll is $.50 per zone with no official maximum.
"The actual toll rate will be determined by space in the lane and real-time traffic conditions," said Goodwin.
The toll per zone will likely skyrocket during rush hour. The left lane will still be free for carpoolers and motorcyclists but they will now have to get a fast track flex transponder to note how many passengers they have or they will be charged.
Caltrans Traffic Operations Director Sean Nozarri says getting solo drivers out of the adjacent lanes and into the carpool lane will actually improve traffic flow for everyone.
It cost $56 million to install the lanes which include extra CHP monitoring of 25 readers and cameras along the route.
"At a read point we take a picture of the license plate so if they don't have a FasTrak toll tag we can find out the address from DMV," warned MTC Toll Project Manager Jim Macrae. Macrae says there will be citations.