Counting Down to the 680 Express Lanes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The Bay Area's first $40 million express lane will open next month.

    As the saying goes: Time is money. Transportation planners are betting on that in the East Bay.

    The Bay Area's first $40 million express lane will open next month. It's a 14-mile stretch heading south on Interstate 680 from 84 to 237 where carpools will be free and single drivers can choose to pay for access. Prices will range from 50 cents on up from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Planners say they haven't named a top price but expect the average cost to be $3 to $4.

    Large signs will let drivers know what the and their FasTrak transponder will be charged.

    But there may be a tricky start to this new concept.

    Carpoolers with transponders will need to get a mylar bag to hide the device and avoid false charges. There will not be photo enforcement so fighting those charges may be difficult.

    The Alameda County Congestion Management Agency says new better transponders are coming in about a year. The devices will allow you to tell the reader how many people are in the car. Until then, cruising through the new express lane will take planning.