Thursday May 31, 2012
With construction now nearly 70 percent completed, starting Friday June 1, motorists will begin seeing large electronic digital ExpressLanes message boards display various information regarding the program. No date has been announced for the official opening but work is progressing for a possible November 2012 opening along the Harbor Freeway Transitway portion of the project.
Metro, in partnership with Caltrans, is embarking on a one-year demonstration program that will convert 11 miles of existing carpool lanes on the I-110 (Harbor Freeway Transitway) between the Harbor Gateway Transit Center/182nd Street and Adams Boulevard near downtown Los Angeles and 14 miles on the I-10 (El Monte Busway) between Union Station/Alameda Street and the I-605 Freeway to toll lanes.
The ExpressLanes program seeks to reduce congestion by improving travel choices in the two corridors. Solo drivers, currently not allowed to use the carpool lanes, will be allowed to use the lanes for a toll. Carpools, transit, vanpools, privately operated buses and motorcycles will travel toll free. The general purpose lanes are not tolled. Net toll revenues will be reinvested in the corridor where they are generated for transportation improvements. Toll charges will range between 25 cents and $1.40 a miles depending on demand.
Workers have been busy over the last year installing a host of power and utility support units needed for the operation of 27 dynamic message signs (DMS) along the two freeway corridors with the first being constructed along the Harbor Freeway portion of the project. These signs will begin their testing phase displaying information regarding the ExpressLanes program. The testing will continue until the system is opened to the public.
In addition, work continues along both corridors as workers install 22 toll transponder readers and approximately 145 signs to provide commuters information on the ExpressLanes and the tolls being charged to use the lanes.
Along the I-10 (San Bernardino Freeway) an additional toll lane is being constructed in each direction between the I-605 and the I-710 freeways to add capacity along that heavily traveled corridor. Currently, there is only one carpool lane operating in each direction along the El Monte Busway. None of the general purpose lanes will be taken away to convert the lanes and make the improvements. The ExpressLanes along the I-10 freeway are expected to be completed in early 2013.
Construction crews also are widening Adams Boulevard off-ramps, adding a right turn lane on Adams Boulevard, constructing a pedestrian bridge, and restriping Figueroa Way in Los Angeles to support the ExpressLanes project on the Harbor Freeway.
In the coming weeks, Metro will begin a campaign to inform motorists on how they can apply for an ExpressLanes transponder needed to travel along the toll lanes. Those wishing additional information can visit www.metro.net/expresslanes.
The Metro ExpressLanes program is a $290 million project funded by a $210 million federal grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the Congestion Reduction Demonstration Program. Nearly $120 million is going towards actual construction costs associated with the toll lanes. The remainder of the money is being used to improve various transportation hubs along the two corridors including the Harbor Gateway Transit Center along the I-110 freeway and the construction of a new El Monte Station along the I-10 freeway. In addition, 59 new buses have been purchased to provide additional bus service along the two corridors.
The ExpressLanes project is being constructed by Atkinson Contractors, LP under contract to Metro. The contractor was competitively selected to design-build-operate-and-maintain the ExpressLanes project. The Atkinson team included AECOM for design and Xerox/ACS Inc. for tolling integration.
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