One westbound and two eastbound Express Lanes are set to open on I-580, allowing non-carpool traffic to use the HOV lanes by paying a toll using a new FasTrak Flex toll tag, and a kick-off event is coming to Hacienda to make them as easy to use as possible.
The two eastbound lanes span 11 miles, beginning at Hacienda Drive and continuing to Fallon/El Charro. The westbound lane begins at Greenville Road and continues 14 miles to just before San Ramon Road/Foothill Road in Dublin. The I-580 Express Lanes will operate Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Outside of those hours, the lanes are open to all vehicles at no charge. Toll prices vary based on traffic congestion and the distance travelled using the Express Lane.
The idea behind Express Lanes is to take advantage of existing capacity in carpool lanes, thus increasing the efficiency of the highways for commuters, transit, and freight by reducing congestion. The lanes are operated by the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).
Express Lanes are toll-free for carpools, vanpools, motorcycles, buses, and eligible clean-air vehicles, but all these users will be required to use a FasTrak Flex toll tag, which allows drivers to indicate whether they are driving solo or qualify at that time as a carpool. Solo drivers can continue to use a standard FastTrak tag.
The new FasTrak Flex tags will be available for purchase at a special event to commemorate the launch of the new Express Lanes. The kick off, which will take place on Tuesday, February 23 from 12:00 to 1:00pm at Hacienda Terraces, 4305 Hacienda Drive, will also provide an opportunity to find out more about the new lanes and to explore a variety of commute options, from using local and regional transit services to carpooling and vanpooling.
Commute alternative information is also available right from your web browser. Hacienda employees and residents can use the park's web site at www.hacienda.org to obtain a free WHEELS Ecopass for free trips on the local transit system; try a free trip on a variety of nearby rail and bus services; get a free carpool or vanpool match list; learn about local transit options and the location of park transit stops; discover walking and bicycling support services; secure a free Guaranteed Ride Home when you use a commute alternative; receive individual support in planning your commute; and more. Simply access www.hacienda.org, click on "Tools" at the top of the page, "Special Offers" in the drop-down menu, and then "Commute" from the menu at left.
The I-580 Express Lanes are not the first in the area. In 2010, an Express Lane opened on a 14-mile segment of southbound I-680 from State Route 84 south of Pleasanton to State Route 237 in Milpitas. A northbound express lane along this same corridor is in the environmental documentation phase and is expected to begin construction next year. The Bay Area will have 550 miles of Express Lanes operated by Alameda CTC, MTC, and VTA when the project is completed in 2035.
For more information on the kick-off event or any of the park's commute benefits for employees and residents, contact the Hacienda Owners Association at (925) 734-6500.
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