Relief is coming for drivers who battle traffic in one of the most congested corridors in the Bay Area.
A $55 million project to create express lanes expected to ease congestion along Interstate Highway 580 in the East Bay will open later this month, transportation officials said Tuesday.
Alameda County Transportation Commission officials provided details on the lanes at a news conference in Pleasanton. The new express lanes will extend along the 14-mile Tri-Valley corridor, in both directions of I-580 through Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore.
Officials said the project, which began construction in June 2014, is in its final stages and the lanes are expected to be open to the public sometime after Presidents' Day.
Sitting in traffic, some drivers told NBC Bay Area they’d be willing to pay just about anything to move faster. Now, they’ll have that option. Solo drivers that opt to travel in these lanes will pay up to $9 in the eastbound direction and $13 westbound, according to transportation officials.
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 real-time traffic levels from sensors.
"I love that," said Debi Nakahara, who frequently drives the stretch of I-580. "It’s all over LA and it makes that terrible traffic move as good as it can."
The express lanes are free for carpoolers, buses and vans.
Tess Lengyel, the transportation commission's deputy director, says the project is similar to the network of existing express lanes along Interstate 680 near the Sunol Grade.
There are two eastbound lanes, which span 11 miles between Hacienda Boulevard on the border of Dublin and 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 difference between the two lanes is that these lanes out here on 580 provide continuous access," Lengyel said.
The express lanes, which are an alternative to traditional toll roads, will be in operation on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m.
More express lanes will be coming to other congested areas as well. Within the next two years, express lanes will also be implemented on I-680 near the busy Walnut Creek area.
Bay City News contributed to this report