Hwy 101 express lanes in San Mateo Co. to open 3 months early due to I-Team investigation

Officials announced they will begin incrementally opening the express lanes for carpools in November.

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ByDan Noyes via KGO logo
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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San Mateo County's Express Lanes along Highway 101 will open three months earlier than expected due to an I-Team investigation

SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- San Mateo County's express lanes will open three months early because of an ABC7 I-Team investigation.

In September, the I-Team's Dan Noyes explained that construction delays had pushed the expected opening date to February or perhaps March of next year, but we questioned why drivers couldn't use the newly-paved lanes now, especially because crews work overnight on the toll sensors that hang over the lanes.

Very little work is done during the day on the express lanes in San Mateo County on U.S. 101 that run from I-380 to the Santa Clara County line.

Last month, Noyes asked the chair of the Joint Powers Authority that oversees the Express Lanes project, "I just see that in other parts of the Bay Area ... if there's construction overnight, they put up the cones and they do it overnight, and by the morning, they're gone. Why can't you do that?"

"I think what we're trying to do is to make sure that we don't add confusion to when we start to go through the testing cycle," Rico Medina answered.

VIDEO: Caltrans breaks ground on final leg of Highway 101 expansion in North Bay

But now, citing reaction to the I-Team report, officials have announced they will begin incrementally opening the express lanes for carpools beginning in early November depending on weather conditions, and that they plan to fully open all north and southbound lanes by mid-November.

Between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8 p.m., the express lanes will be limited to HOV3+ vehicles. Outside of those hours, all drivers will be allowed to use the lanes.

Once installation of the toll sensors is complete next year, the express lanes will be free to cars with three or more passengers, and have reduced fares for two passengers or clean air vehicles.

Solo drivers can pay full price to use the express lanes during those hours of 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cost will go up or down depending on how crowded the lane is.

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