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Author Topic: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley  (Read 6727 times)

myosh_tino

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Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« on: August 06, 2015, 02:57:39 AM »

There's been a flurry of news concerning the new I-580 Express Lanes through the Livermore valley which are scheduled to open in a couple of months.  Most of the recent news centered around the opening of the lanes and that all express lane users would need the new FasTrak Flex transponder which was introduced in southern California when the I-110 and I-10 express lanes opened down there.

The eastbound I-580 Express Lanes will run for about 12 miles from Hopyard Rd to Greenville Rd.
The westbound I-580 Express Lane will run for about 13 miles from Greenville Rd to San Ramon Rd.

I was in the area today and since I had my camera with me I took some photos of the almost completed I-580 Express Lanes…

Tolling Gantry...


Unlike the gantries used on the I-680 Express Lane, these also include cameras which will be used for toll enforcement.  These gantries are placed about a half to 1 mile apart.  This is because these express lanes will be "open-access" lanes meaning you can enter and exit at anytime.

Striping...




Unlike the I-680 Express Lane, the I-580 Express Lanes will be "open-access" lanes for the most part.  The westbound express lane becomes buffer-separated at Hacienda Drive and remains that way until after passing I-680.  The first photos shows the striping for the open-access portion while the second photo shows the striping for the buffer-separated lane.  The use of double-double white lines is something I've never seen before.  The I-680 express lane uses double white lines.

Blue-on-White(?) Sign...


The last photo I took was of an unusual blue-on-white temporary overhead sign announcing the pending opening of the express lanes.
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2015, 10:15:24 AM »

Cool find on the blue on white sign Myosh!  Nice pix too :-)

Rick
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2015, 02:03:15 PM »

Cool find on the blue on white sign Myosh!  Nice pix too :-)

Rick

Thanks!

Pictures turned out better than I expected.  That might have been because I used a real camera instead of a cell phone camera (which could have landed me a ticket for using a cell phone while driving).
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2015, 03:24:53 PM »

How well have the Express Lanes worked at reducing congestion on Interstate 580?
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myosh_tino

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2015, 03:41:52 PM »

How well have the Express Lanes worked at reducing congestion on Interstate 580?

Don't know because the lanes aren't open.  They're scheduled to open sometime in the next 2-3 months.
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jrouse

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2015, 12:51:15 AM »

The blue-on-white sign was a special design that Caltrans HQ Traffic was asked to approve.   I recommended blue and white because it's serving as a motorist information sign.  The colors were reversed to enhance visibility.  It's definitely non-standard but it's also only temporary.


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roadfro

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2015, 01:10:14 AM »

^ Good thought process on that! Thanks for sharing.
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jrouse

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 12:53:03 AM »

Double double white stripes are being used on the I-110 express lanes in Los Angeles and are an option in the MUTCD.


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Brandon

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 11:23:04 AM »

CalTrans really expects people not to cross double-double white lines?  Those would be violated about once a minute around Chicago.  :rofl:
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roadfro

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 04:50:58 PM »

CalTrans really expects people not to cross double-double white lines?  Those would be violated about once a minute around Chicago.  :rofl:
Caltrans currently uses a double double yellow with single white on the HOV side to designate the buffer on many SoCal facilities, which is not allowed in MUTCD. I believe Caltrans is phasing this out, in favor of the double double white buffer method that meets MUTCD specs.

Through years of implementation and practice (and my relatively limited experience driving there) it seems the "double double yellow with white" is fairly well followed and not illegally crossed often by motorists. Stands to reason that drivers would take to the "double double white" similarly.
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 06:42:54 PM »

What about new pavement?  :sombrero:
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myosh_tino

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2015, 02:52:42 PM »

CalTrans really expects people not to cross double-double white lines?  Those would be violated about once a minute around Chicago.  :rofl:
Caltrans currently uses a double double yellow with single white on the HOV side to designate the buffer on many SoCal facilities, which is not allowed in MUTCD. I believe Caltrans is phasing this out, in favor of the double double white buffer method that meets MUTCD specs.

Through years of implementation and practice (and my relatively limited experience driving there) it seems the "double double yellow with white" is fairly well followed and not illegally crossed often by motorists. Stands to reason that drivers would take to the "double double white" similarly.

That all depends.

I'll agree that SoCal drivers are likely to obey the new markings whether they are the double-double white like the future 580 express lanes or the double white like the current 680 express lane.  The same can't be said for NorCal drivers.  The crossing of the double white lines on the 680 express lane was a real problem when the lane first opened because up until then, all HOV lanes were open-access meaning you can enter and exit at any time.  I would say that we're getting used to the concept of not crossing double white lines but I still see people doing it.
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jeffe

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 10:40:36 PM »

The opening of the express lanes has been delayed until early 2016.

Quote
"We have had construction delays on the civil infrastructure due to material shortages, and thus a little more time is needed to complete full system integration efforts as well as system testing throughout the corridor"

Source: http://pleasantonweekly.com/news/2015/09/25/i-580-toll-lanes-opening-delayed-i-680-projects-on-the-way
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rschen7754

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 11:32:33 PM »

Quote
"We have had construction delays on the civil infrastructure due to material shortages, and thus a little more time is needed to complete full system integration efforts as well as system testing throughout the corridor"

Source: http://pleasantonweekly.com/news/2015/09/25/i-580-toll-lanes-opening-delayed-i-680-projects-on-the-way

Guess they have to use more material to update those white signs.
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jeffe

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2015, 11:44:30 PM »

Guess they have to use more material to update those white signs.

I drove by there today and the signs have been updated to say "Early 2016".

The eastbound direction has been striped for two Express Lanes, but the left lane is coned off.  The "Express Lane" markings are not in place yet; the lane has temporary tape diamonds on the pavement instead.
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andy3175

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2016, 12:58:21 PM »

Looks like the express lanes will be activated this month, and a tour of the facility was conducted last week with various officials and news media per this article from Friday 2/12/2016:
http://www.goldenstatenewspapers.com/tracy_press/news/i--express-lanes-opening-this-month/article_e9537178-d12a-11e5-8bac-13adb64d5c8d.html

Quote
The Alameda County Transportation Commission wrote in a new release that the Express Lanes will maximize the efficiency of the entire roadway by offering excess capacity to solo drivers willing to pay a toll. The toll will be collected using FasTrak tags. Multiple readers built along the ¾-mile stretch of road leading up to the lane are designed to ensure successful toll collection.

The toll for westbound travel will be between $2.40 and $13. The eastbound toll will be between $2.10 and $9.

The toll is higher during peak commute times to discourage solo drivers from entering and lower during off-peak times to encourage solo drivers to use it and ease the traffic flow through the area.

The lanes are expected to be activated later this month.

Here's a map of the 580 express lanes:


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andy3175

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2016, 01:02:39 PM »

It also appears the new express lanes will require a Flex Fastrak transponder

http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_29496518/new-express-lanes-opening-i-580

Quote
The Bay Area is also headed in the direction of longer carpool hours and double express lanes. Restrictions on the new 580 lanes will be in effect from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, hours that will be typical on future express lanes. There will be two lanes eastbound from Hacienda Drive in Pleasanton to Greenville Road in Livermore, and one in the westbound direction a longer distance, 14 miles, to the San Ramon Road/Foothill overcrossing in Dublin. Motorists will need to put $25 down for a FasTrak Flex transponder to drive in them. ...

All motorists who want to drive in these lanes will need to purchase a new FasTrak Flex transponder. It will allow drivers to indicate how many people are inside their vehicle so carpoolers get a free ride -- which the older transponders can't do. You can get one in person for a $25 deposit at dozens of Walgreens, Safeway and Costco stores in the Bay Area, or order online at BayAreaFasTrak.org.

Drivers with one or more passengers won't be charged; neither will those with green or white carpool stickers. Solo drivers will find overhead signs alerting them to the price they will pay depending on the distance they travel and how heavy traffic is. The more traffic, the higher the toll. The cost could be as much as $13 for the Dublin to Livermore trek, or as low as 30 cents.

And to the relief of many drivers, they'll be able to enter and exit cash-paying lanes at almost any point on 580.

That's unlike existing toll lanes where double-white lines limit access points on 237 in Milpitas and 680 down the Sunol Grade, frustrating motorists unable to reach their preferred exits and leading to numerous illegal lane changes and angry blasts of horns. ...

When lanes will be open to all: Late nights on weekdays, all weekend long.
The new FasTrak rules: The old, original FasTrak tag will not work for these 580 lanes. Drivers will need the new FasTrak Flex transponder for this 12-mile stretch -- as well as for all future toll lanes in Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties.
How this FasTrak works: The Flex transponder can be set at 1, 2 or 3 to indicate the number of people in the car.
Who rides free: These lanes are toll-free for carpools, vanpools, motorcycles, buses and eligible clean-air vehicles -- but all drivers must have a FasTrak Flex.
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mrsman

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2016, 07:14:05 AM »

The Fastrack rules are very different from the EZ-Pass rules on the East Coast.  The express lanes along I-495 in VA are HOT lanes.  HOV3 may use it for free with an EZ-Pass Flex.  All others must pay toll with either a regular EZ-Pass or a EZ-Pass flex.  An HOV3 with a regular EZ-Pass may use the lanes, but will have to pay toll.

From what you quoted, even people with a regular Fastrack would not be allowed to drive on the I-580 Express Lanes at all.

Is there any reason why anyone should keep the regular Fastrack?  Maybe they all should be converted to Fastrack-flex statewide.

[In EZ-Pass territory, there is still a reason to keep the traditional EZ-Pass because monthly fees are charged to those with EZ-Pass flex for those who don't use the corridor regularly.  Plus, I'm not aware of any other HOT lanes in EZ-Pass territory - so for people in New England and Illinois who are nowhere near VA, this won't affect them at all.]
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2016, 11:17:20 AM »

There's a rather large error in that Mercury News article.  According to the I-580 Express Lane website, those who want to use the express lanes toll free (carpoolers, buses, clean-air vehicles, etc) must have a FasTrak Flex transponder.  Solo drivers can continue to use their FasTrak transponder.

Quote
All I-580 Express Lane users must carry a FasTrak toll tag. Carpoolers and those eligible to use carpool lanes must have a new FasTrak Flex toll tag for toll-free travel. FasTrak Flex allows drivers to designate whether they are driving solo, or are a carpool with 2 or 3+ occupancy. Order your FasTrak Flex toll tag online now. Solo drivers can continue to use their existing FasTrak toll tag on the I-580 Express Lanes.

Additional: The eastbound I-580 express lanes opened this morning (Friday, 2/19/16).  The westbound express lane will open on Monday, Feb 22nd.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 07:11:41 PM by myosh_tino »
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2016, 11:42:50 PM »

http://m.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Bay-Area-s-new-Lexus-lanes-will-require-a-6842168.php

Update by SF gate. Wow the Lexus lanes name is at play for this headline.  But good luck to the new opening for Highway-580 toll lanes.
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2016, 11:06:35 AM »

Does a Fastrak Flex Responder work the same as a switchable Fastrak transponder like the one Metro gives out for the Harbor and San Bernardino Express Lanes in SoCal? Both have the three switch setting, although the 1, 2, and 3 passenger settings are on different positions on the two transponders.  In other words, does anyone know if I could geta Fastrak Flex tag and use the switching features on the express lanes in SoCal?

I use a regular Bay Area Fastak transponder, which works fine on SoCal toll roads, except there has been no ability to signal passenger sizes with like with Metro's version of the transponder for those rare occasions I use the Express Lanes.
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myosh_tino

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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2016, 05:27:35 PM »

Does a Fastrak Flex Trasponder work the same as a switchable Fastrak transponder like the one Metro gives out for the Harbor and San Bernardino Express Lanes in SoCal? Both have the three switch setting, although the 1, 2, and 3 passenger settings are on different positions on the two transponders.  In other words, does anyone know if I could geta Fastrak Flex tag and use the switching features on the express lanes in SoCal?

I believe the SoCal and NorCal switchable transponders are one in the same and therefore should work on the I-10, I-110 and I-580 express lanes.  I could have sworn the term "FasTrak Flex" was first used by the folks running the Metro Express Lanes when referring to their switchable transponder.

A word of caution though.  While it's nice that the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) does not charge maintenance fees on their FasTrak accounts (most in SoCal do, anywhere from $1 to $5), if there is significant toll activity outside the S.F. Bay Area, you may get hit with a monthly maintenance fee.
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jrouse

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Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2016, 07:43:01 PM »

A FasTrak or FasTrak Flex tag will work on any toll facility in California.  State law mandates electronic toll collection interoperability, so one tag should work anywhere.  I have a Flex tag and have used it on the toll bridges with no problems.

Some history on the FasTrak Flex brand:
Yours truly was the one who came up with the name. I was inspired by what the EZPass group on the East Coast did for their switchable tag for the express lanes on I-495 and I-95 in Virginia, with the special branding of EZPass Flex.  The California Toll Operators Committee (CTOC) adopted it after some market research and approval by the Transportation Corridor Agencies (which owns the FasTrak trademark).

The branding came about as a result of an issue with the I-10 and I-110 express lanes in Los Angeles.  LA Metro offers only a switchable tag to its customers.  It was branded as FasTrak.  Yet there are a substantial number of older non-switchable tags in use in Southern California that were issued by TCA and OCTA, also branded as FasTrak.  The pricing signs on the 2 express lanes in Los Angeles were displaying a message that HOVs with FasTrak didn't have to pay a toll.  However, this was only applicable if you had the switchable tag.  No switch - you'd still pay.  A few people had caught on to this distinction, and I was concerned that it could lead to legal action because the signs were conveying a misleading message.  The toll operators saw this same risk and agreed that a separate brand would help.

Guidance was developed on the use of the brand and one of the things that I made very clear was that the brand should only be used in messaging related to carpooling.  For this reason, when you drive the 580 express lanes, most signs only say "FasTrak".  The FasTrak Flex brand is only displayed on messages pertaining to HOVs.  The messaging on those signs was taken from the I-495 express lanes in Virginia.

The Bay Area was the first region to adopt the FasTrak Flex branding.  The express lanes in Los Angeles will adopt it eventually. 

As some have noted, a couple of media outlets reported that you could ONLY use the 580 express lanes if you had the FasTrak Flex.  That's not true because that would violate our interoperability law.  One of the media outlets corrected their report after I brought this to their attention.

One final note:  if you use a traditional toll facility like a toll bridge or toll road, the setting on the switch tag doesn't matter.  Without getting too technical, the switch setting is tied in with one component of the tag that is typically not scanned by the overhead readers.   The tag readers on the LA express lanes and the new express lanes in the Bay Area will scan that component.  I'm not sure about the existing express lanes on CA-237 and I-680.  Eventually both of those facilities will start requiring all users to carry a tag, though, and require the Flex tag for toll-free travel.


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« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 08:34:44 PM by jrouse »
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2016, 12:34:35 AM »

One final note:  if you use a traditional toll facility like a toll bridge or toll road, the setting on the switch tag doesn't matter.  Without getting too technical, the switch setting is tied in with one component of the tag that is typically not scanned by the overhead readers.   The tag readers on the LA express lanes and the new express lanes in the Bay Area will scan that component.  I'm not sure about the existing express lanes on CA-237 and I-680.  Eventually both of those facilities will start requiring all users to carry a tag, though, and require the Flex tag for toll-free travel.

Will the Fastrak Flex be coming to San Diego for the I-15 express lanes?
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Re: Interstate 580 Express Lanes - Livermore Valley
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2016, 05:52:40 AM »

Congratulations jrouse on coming up with the name Fastrak flex.  That little innovation would make things so much easier for the public to keep track of:

regular Fastrak - always pay a toll on any toll facility

Fastrak flex on SOV - always pay a toll on any toll facility

Fastrak flex on HOV-2: free for carpools of 2 or more for express lanes with exemption on 2 or more; on other facilities - pay a toll

Fastrak flex on HOV-3: free for carpools of 3 or more for express lanes with exemption on 2 or more; on other facilities - pay a toll


With regards to Andy's question, while I do not know first hand if San Diego will accept the flex, I assume that eventually they would.  Apparently, it is much easier to enforce carpool restrictions with a flex than to enforce one without the flex.  Right now, even carpoolers without a flex get a free ride on I-15.  This will eventually change and they'd strart requiring the flex for the free ride, or else you will receive a toll violation.  And to the extent that you can't get a transponder without paying maintenance fees, the carpool option will never be totally free.

But if you use a Fastrak flex now, be careful becuase you may be charged a toll even if you are on HOV-3 mode.  You need to "bag the tag" until they formally change the policy.

So if you do use the I-15 express lanes, be alert to major changes to the policy.  When will this hapen?  I don't know.
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