Those nasty backups on the Dumbarton Bridge this past week should end.

Bay Area bridge officials will reopen toll booth No. 4 on Monday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The cash/FasTrak booth had been closed since early January in a cost-cutting move, but that led to traffic backing up to Interstate 880 and adding up to 20 minutes to the morning drive across the span.

"Since the holiday, the backups between 880 and the toll plaza have been stunning," said motorist Greg Heibel. "Solid backup all the way. Once you get past the toll plaza, traffic flows very easily.

"Not staffing a lane for budgetary reasons is unconscionable. The amount of toll-paying drivers' time and gas that is wasted, as well as the environmental impact of so many idling cars, is significant."

John Goodwin of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said funding for manual toll collection has been shrinking for years and bridge officials want to encourage the use of FasTrak.

"But this impacted everybody, not only cash-paying customers but also FasTrak users," he said. "It was not working."

Goodwin said the lane might be converted to FasTrak-only use.

"Don't be surprised," he said, "if there are further refinements."

Contact Gary Richards at 408-920-5335.