DUBLIN -- The public got a look Tuesday at plans for a 12-mile toll lane on westbound Interstate 580 from Livermore to Dublin and Pleasanton.
When the lane opens in 2015, it will be free for carpools and buses, but solo drivers can use it by paying fees from their FastTrak accounts.
Tuesday's City Hall session had Caltrans freeway planners on hand plus representatives from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and a design consulting firm to answer questions from city officials and residents.
Residents aired concerns and viewed displayed charts and diagrams detailing freeway logistics, project costs and future schedules. Some residents were interested in how the toll lane would work and be enforced.
"With carpool lanes, only carpoolers can use them," said Gary Sidhu, a project manager for the Transportation Commission.
"We can relieve congestion by giving opportunity to single-occupant vehicles to use the (toll) lane. This helps air quality, helps people's lives and they can get sooner to their destination," Sidhu said.
"Right now, you don't have the option," said Jeff Zimmerman, a project manager with URS, an engineering design and environmental consulting firm working with the commission. "If I'm late for a doctor's appointment -- this gives me that option" to use the toll lane, he said.
Some residents wondered how express lanes, will affect commutes.
"I think that if they're going to open up new lanes, then everyone should be able to use them," said Dan Rodrigues, a Dublin resident who uses I-580 three to four times a week.
Officials said no new lanes will be opened specifically for the toll lane. A carpool lane, under construction now, will also be the toll lane. It is expected to open for both uses in the fall of 2015.
Although toll fee amounts have yet to be decided, it is expected they will range from 40 cents to $8, depending on the volume of traffic and lane capacity. The average trip price is estimated to be between $1.50 and $6, as it is for tolls in other parts of California and elsewhere in the United States, transit officials said.
The total cost for the westbound I-580 project, which runs from Hacienda Drive in Pleasanton to Greenville Road in Livermore, is estimated at $23.4 million. That figure includes environmental studies, design, lane construction and system integration which will likely implement software programs used by the CHP for toll violation enforcement.
Of the $23.4 million, $6.4 million has already been funded by federal, state, and local governments. Funding sources for the remaining $17 million is yet to be determined. It will likely be paid for with additional federal grants, officials said.