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I-580 Express lanes to open later this month

Even single driver cars can use new lanes for a fee

Drivers will now be able to ease through traffic as I-580 Express Lanes are set to open later this month.

"After the completion of final sign installation, testing and lane striping, the express lanes will be scheduled to be open," said Tess Lengyel, Deputy Director of Planning and Policy with the Alameda County Transportation Commission, in a release.

Informational signage on the I-580 freeway along with testing of tag readers for FasTrak are currently under construction.

A double white line will be marked on the freeway to signify where drivers cannot enter the express lanes.

When there are too many drivers on the freeway, drivers who are in their vehicles alone are able to pay a toll for access into the carpool lane.

The express lanes will span 14 miles in Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. Clean-air vehicles, van pools, buses and carpools are eligible to take advantage and use the express carpool lanes as long as their FasTrak Flex toll tag is mounted and visible on the windshields of driver's cars.

"FasTrak Flex is a new type of FasTrak tag that must be set to 2-3 or more passengers that allows drivers to designate if they are driving solo or carpooling," Lengyel said.

Each time drivers on the I-580 freeway plan on using their FasTrak Flex toll tags, consumers can deposit money into their FasTrak account each time to ensure that they have enough funds to be covered while driving on the road.

In order for carpool and vanpool drivers to use the express lanes toll free, they must have an active FasTrak Flex account and have the poll tag mounted correctly on their vehicle.

Drivers who plan on using the express lanes in the future are encouraged to purchase the FasTrak Flex toll tags at Costco, Walgreens or Safeway stores in the Tri-Valley area.

Along with purchasing the required toll tag to show while traveling in the new express lanes on the I-580 freeway, east bay drivers need to register their toll tag and create an account online on the Bay Area FasTrak's webpage.

"Express lanes increase the efficiency of our transportation system for commuters, transit and freight by taking advantage of existing infrastructure," Lengyel said.

The I-580 Express Lanes will operate and be available for drivers who are carpooling and commuting to their acquired destinations.

A FasTrak toll tag is required for drivers who intend to commute using the new express lanes.

While the impending express lanes will be beneficial to many riders, some commuters like San Ramon resident, Elle Counts, do not use I-580 as often as others.

"I commute only a few times a month on the I-580 freeway to visit friends, so although I believe that the express lanes are a good idea, I will not benefit from it by paying for the lanes," Counts said.

The operating hours of the express lanes will be Monday-Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. According to the Alameda County Transportation Commission, "outside of the operating hours the express lanes are open to all vehicles at no charge."

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