MTC’s I-680 Contra Costa Express Lanes will join existing lanes on I-680, I-580 and Highway 237 to become part of the Bay Area Express Lanes that will ultimately be 550 express lane miles by 2035. The network will fill gaps between existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, providing more advantages to carpool and will offer solo drivers the choice to pay a toll for a more reliable trip.
Since opening in February 2016, the express lanes on I-580 between Livermore and Dublin have carried over 6 million trips. Cars in the I-580 express lanes travel from 4 to 23 miles per hour faster than the general purpose lanes in the peak hours and directions. The average daily toll for the 15 mile stretch is $1.80 eastbound and $1.60 westbound. On I-680 in Alameda County, vehicles in the southbound express lane between Pleasanton and San Jose go anywhere from 9 to 14 mph faster than cars in the other lanes during the a.m. peak and the average toll is about $2.60.
Like on the open lanes in the Bay Area, tolls on the I-680 Contra Costa Express Lanes will vary with traffic congestion. Because tolls are based on demand, toll rates cannot be predicted, but the experiences on the already-open I-580 and I-680 lanes in Alameda County provide an indication of what drivers might expect.
Signs are going up! In the last few weeks you may have seen overhead signs in the corridor labeled “Under Construction.” While some signs may be fully visible, the lanes will not open until later this year while the toll system is prepared. Installation of the data network and power sources as well as toll testing continues, although progress has slowed somewhat due to the rain.