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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

I-680 is the toll lane. So why isn’t anyone running into it? road show

Q: Do you know why the carpool lane on Interstate 680 from Sanol through Fremont is closed to toll traffic? And more importantly, when will it open? There is no work going on and the street is almost empty. … the sign says “HOV ONLY.” …will the three people in this lane avoid paying toll like they have done on 880 and 237 and will do on 101?

Greg Stron, Andy Maurer and more

A: Construction of the northbound I-680 toll lane in Alameda County was completed in October but the toll system is not yet ready. Both northbound and southbound lanes at 680 are expected to start toll later this year.

There’s more news, and this will please many carpoolers. There are no plans to introduce the three-person carpool rule on future express lanes at 680 and 580. The three-person rule will remain at 880 and 237 and extend to 101 in San Mateo County when tolls begin to be collected on those express lanes in the coming months and years. The plan is to have free two-person carpools on the 580 and 680.

Construction of 101 express lanes from Whipple Avenue to the Santa Clara County line in Redwood City should be completed this fall, but the section from Whipple to Interstate 380 will not be ready until the fall of 2022.

Q: I saw your update on FasTrak where you mentioned the settings on the toll tag.

I believe in the past you mentioned that if you are in a two seater vehicle you can put a toll tag to show three people to avoid the toll. If it is correct, can you mention it in your column? I’m sure most people don’t know about it.

Ron Harris, Milpitas

A: Yes, it’s true. If you set the toll tag to 3, you are still complying with the toll lane rules in a car meant for two.

Q: I remember your recent column about speeding on Highway 24, so I thought I’d check it out. I entered Orinda, heading to Walnut Creek at 65-70 mph. I passed zero cars but 22 passed me. I headed south on I-680, where it was even worse.

Not sure what the answer is.

Charlie Coen, Moraga

A: Highway speed cameras, sensible drivers, higher fines and more highway patrol officers, probably.

Q: I am wondering if the timing of a traffic light can be changed so that when the light turns red, there is a pause of two to three seconds before the other light turns green. This can reduce accidents caused by red-light runners.

Eileen Hamper, Campbell

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