Toll details released as I-580 express lanes opening nears

Solo drivers will pay $9 eastbound, $13 westbound for full length of new lanes

A $55 million project to create express lanes expected to ease congestion along Interstate 580 through Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore will be opened later this month, transportation officials said Tuesday.

Alameda County Transportation Commission officials at a news conference in Pleasanton provided details on the lanes, including toll rate information.

Arthur Dao, the commission's executive director, said the new freeway lanes will open in two weeks although a specific date has yet to be announced until all toll meters are fully tested and operational. It's likely they will be opened sometime after Presidents' Day.

Dao said the opening will represent "a decade of worth of planning, engineering, development and construction to improve mobility in this congested corridor."

The project builds on a network of existing express lanes in the Bay Area, such as on a stretch of I-680 south of Pleasanton, he said.

The new toll lanes consist of a 14-mile westbound lane that begins at Greenville Road in Livermore and ends at San Ramon Road near the I-680 connector.

There are two eastbound lanes, which span 11 miles between Hacienda Boulevard in Pleasanton and Greenville Road in Livermore.

In both directions, there are areas where access into and out of the express lanes are limited, represented through double white lines.

The new lanes, which will be free to vehicles with two or more occupants and during overnight hours, will be costly to others using the lanes are on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Solo drivers that opt use these lanes will be charged up to $9 for the full length in the eastbound direction and $13 in the westbound direction.

The maximum rates apply to those using the full distance of the lanes. The lanes are otherwise divided into zones that drivers pay for based on where they entered and exited.

The minimum cost is 30 cents per zone, with adjustments to that cost being made by an algorithmic pricing system that pulls data about current traffic levels from sensors.

Tess Lengyel, deputy director of planning and policy for the transportation commission, said the tolls were developed to adjust for supply and demand.

Based on the current price displayed on signage when a driver enters the express lane, the driver is charged through an electronic detection system, she said.

"This is the next generation of technology," Lengyel said. "There are no toll booths. This is how the tolls are generated."

As with other express/toll lanes in the system, there will be no cost to motorcyclists, buses, eligible clean-air vehicles or those who would otherwise be able to access a carpool lane. However, those drivers, including all other opting to use the new lanes, will still need to use a FasTrak Flex toll reading device, which can be purchased in various locations, Lengyel said.

The small battery-powered device has adjustable settings based on whether a vehicle has one, two or three-plus occupants.

She explained that toll revenues will be routed completely to operational and maintenance costs for the express lanes. Any additional funds will be used to support transit projects along the corridor.

"We recognize this is a new system and that drivers will have to adjust to this over time," Lengyel said. "We're trying to do a lot of education to make sure that drivers understand how this operates."

Brett Johnson, Bay City News, contributed to this report.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


13 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 10, 2016 at 10:03 pm

Ease congestion? Why not open the lane to all drivers and not to only those willing to pay 13.00 a pop? Perhaps there is a runaway train?
Dao's compensation package for 2014: $337,973.47 (this does not include the taxpayer funded pension that will easily be about a million every 3 years). Tess Lengyel comes in at $254,907.22. Looks like the Alameda Transp0. workers make it into the top 10.

9 people like this
Posted by more taxes
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 6:55 am

Toll roads...don't call them "freeways" any longer.

9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 8:11 am

So let me see if I understand this correctly. When traffic from the Altamont pass westbound is going zero miles an hour, if I get in the "fast" lane I could be charged $13 to go zero miles and hour? I'm a 1% er and I even feel bad that the rich people again get to take "advantage" (although I use that word lightly) of a system that is rigged for the rich. A poor fast food worker making $7.50 per hour is not going to spend $13 to get to work 5 minutes quicker for their 4 hour shift. They spent $55mil to create a system is rigged for the "rich". I've paid taxes for that road for 40+ years and now I have to pay more to be in the left lane. What a rip. Good think I don't commute.

14 people like this
Posted by Randy
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 8:53 am

What total BS bureaucracy! Justification is supposed to be to "redistribute traffic and provide a more reliable commute" by allowing people who otherwise would not be allowed into the HOV lanes if they want to or can pay for it.
If they really wanted to redistribute traffic, they would just get rid of HOV lanes altogether, and traffic would do that all by itself.
The only thing the HOV lanes accomplish is to choke traffic into the non-HOV lanes during commute hours.

13 people like this
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Feb 11, 2016 at 8:57 am

Nealy $1 a mile is a little steep for a road that is already tax funded.

15 people like this
Posted by We the people
a resident of Danville
on Feb 11, 2016 at 9:08 am

It would be great if we all united and no one used that lane. That's the only way we are going to be heard on this one. I for one will not pay or use that lane myself.

4 people like this
Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Feb 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

The predictable - nay, guaranteed! whining of the special folks of the Tri-Valley.

Let's see: we complain about taxes (gas tax revenue is far lower per mile traveled than in the past), complain about paying tolls, insist that everything would be just fine and dandy if our own pet theory was adopted, and then complain about paying the salaries of the folks who have to actually do the job of trying to keep things from getting worse.

Danville/San Ramon folks, you've done yourselves proud!

3 people like this
Posted by more taxes
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 10:58 am

Strangely, my family heard nothing about this one or the one through the San Ramon Valley...until they started building it...must have just missed all of the publicity.
Anyone else?

2 people like this
Posted by dbrower
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 11, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Dear MoreTaxes,

You just weren't paying attention. This has been planned for a long time -- it was in "the plan" even before the last two major changes to 680 (the aux lanes, and the widening that led to the existing carpool lanes). I remember because I was annoyed about the failure to plan ahead that resulted in building a new center divide, only to tear it down and rebuild it twice in some cases.

I've never heard a word of support for the toll lane from any actual human, but I'm personally indifferent. Does the lane over the Sunol grade actually work?

4 people like this
Posted by more taxes
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Why does feel like double taxation?

4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 7:40 pm

The toll lanes are a failed idea that amounts to taxation without representation and mismanagement/poor decision making by an unelected bureaucracy. The future of continued traffic congestion on I580 will prove the fallacy of this faulty idea of toll lanes.

4 people like this
Posted by Rick C
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 8:46 pm

I can't believe what is happening to this area. I am astonished by these salaries listed by Taxpayer on this feed. Are these numbers right? Who is managing this and who sets these numbers? Using tax money to build and then turning around and asking those same people to pay each time they want to use the lane is insane. $13.00, OUCH! Enough is enough. Time to clean house in Nov. Everyone needs to vote and get the crooks out of office.

3 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Danville
on Feb 12, 2016 at 5:30 am

I'm saddened by the waste of our transportation dollars on these goofy projects. Our decision makers are failing us. This feels like double dipping & a waste of money. Yuck.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Walnut Creek

on Feb 13, 2016 at 12:59 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Alameda County Grand Jury calls out supervisors
By | 3 comments | 851 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 744 views