TEXpress Managed Lanes Make Debut in State of Texas
DALLAS (December 13, 2013) – All eyes are on Texas as a first-of-its-kind tool for managing highly congested highway corridors launches on Saturday, December 14. The LBJ Express project team will open the first 3.2-mile segment of the Interstate 635 highway expansion from just east of Preston Road to Greenville Avenue.
With the Saturday opening, drivers will get their first look at TEXpress Lanes, managed toll lanes developed over the past several years by transportation planners at North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), along with other industry experts.
TEXpress Lanes run parallel to fully reconstructed main lanes and expanded frontage roads and offer drivers the option to pay a variable toll for a minimum trip speed of 50 mph. For the first six months of operation, while drivers are becoming familiar with the TEXpress Lanes, tolls along the 3.2-mile segment will be capped and will range from $0.15 to $0.95 for the entire segment, depending on the time of day (peak vs. non-peak hours) and direction (eastbound vs. westbound).
All toll rates will be posted and clearly marked on electronic signs prior to drivers entering the TEXpress Lanes. At the end of the six-month review period, tolls will fluctuate according to traffic volume and rate of speed. Electronic sensors throughout the corridor will measure congestion every few minutes and electronically recalibrate the rates: as congestion increases, the toll rate will increase to ensure that a minimum predictable speed of 50 mph is maintained.
Drivers with a valid NTTA TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG, along with HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) users, will receive discounted rates. HOV discounts can be obtained by pre-registering at www.DriveOnTEXpress.com.
“This is a new era in congestion management,” said Antonio Cedron, CEO of LBJ Infrastructure Group. “The highway system in North Texas has been overburdened for decades, with I-635 at the top of the list of most-congested highways in the state.” The highway was originally built to accommodate 180,000 cars per day, but more than 270,000 cars currently use the corridor on a daily basis. The $2.7 billion highway expansion project began in January 2011 to basically increase the road capacity and improve and expand the general highway lanes, frontage roads and shoulders.
“This innovative, dynamic tolling model will provide drivers with a choice: if they are driving to important meetings or appointments, catching flights at DFW International Airport, or just commuting through the East-West corridor, the TEXpress Lanes are a great option,” added Cedron.
Drivers who do not want to use the TEXpress Lanes can still benefit from the managed lanes system: with drivers shifting over to the TEXpress Lanes, there should be fewer cars on the fully rebuilt general highway lanes and expanded frontage roads. With safety a primary concern, the shoulders also have been widened along the length of the corridor as well.
TEXpress Lanes will be installed along the remaining segments of the LBJ Express over the next two years: the second phase from the I-635/I-35 interchange south to Northwest Highway will open in mid-2014; the third phase, from Preston Road to I-35E, will be complete by December 2015.
TEXpress Lanes will also be rolled out in the next year along the recently completed DFW Connector and the North Tarrant Express in Northeast Tarrant County. Managed lanes will also be a component to the reconstruction of I-35W from downtown Fort Worth to US 287 and I-35E from Dallas into Denton County.
“Ultimately, drivers will be able to have a seamless and reliable trip throughout the North Texas region, connecting Fort Worth and Dallas like never before,” said Robert Hinkle, LBJ Express Corporate Affairs. “Mobility is a critical part of economic development and quality of life, and these new highway corridors will have a significant impact on both.”
For more information on how the TEXpress Lanes will work along the LBJ Express, click here to access an informational video. Extensive information about the TEXpress Managed Lanes network is also available at www.texpresslanes.com.